House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Friday said she does not support Medicare for All despite its popularity among top Democratic presidential candidates.
"I’m not a big fan of Medicare for All," Pelosi said in an interview with Bloomberg. "I mean I welcome the debate. I think we should have health care for all. I think the Affordable Care [Act] benefit is better than the Medicare benefits."
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The nation's most powerful Democratic lawmaker said she is open to a conversation about Medicare for All and has allowed advocates to speak before various congressional committees. Pelosi is concerned about the multi-trillion-dollar costs of running a government health care system.
"It is expensive," Pelosi said. "Who pays is very important. What are the benefits that come in there?"
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) have each emphasized that substantial tax hikes on the wealthy will be needed to pay for the program. Numerous analyses of Medicare for All, however, have shown that taxing the wealthy alone will not be enough to cover costs. Sanders has acknowledged that middle class tax hikes will be needed. Warren has claimed that she will be able to institute government-run health care without such an increase, but her cost estimates have inspired accusations of massively underestimating the costs.
Pelosi said she hopes the dialogue will shift from Medicare for All to "health care for all Americans." She said people feel comfortable with their private insurance plans and there is no "one bill" solution to eliminate private insurance. She has repeatedly criticized Medicare for All as a policy option and consistently defended the Affordable Care Act.
"A lot of people love having their employer-based insurance and the Affordable Care Act gave them better benefits," Pelosi told the Washington Post in April.