Pelosi Is Worried About 2020 Candidates’ Policy Proposals

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
November 2, 2019 Updated: November 2, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is worried about whether 2020 Democratic candidates are on the right track in terms of their policy proposals, to defeat President Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election.

Pelosi told Bloomberg on Nov. 1 that some of the socialist proposals advocated by candidates such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal might gain support from voters in liberal districts, but probably won’t work for voters in Midwestern states.

“What works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan,” Pelosi told the media outlet.

Her concerns reflect the views of several prominent Democrats who say some of the candidates’ proposals could hurt the prospects of the party winning in the general election. In August, former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said in an interview that he believes some of the 2020 candidates’ policies on healthcare and immigration might be too extreme and frighten voters away.

Pelosi said for candidates to win they must appeal to voters by showing them why they should be president.

“Show them what’s in your heart, your hopes and dreams,” she said. “It’s not about you. It’s about them.”

While speaking on Bloomberg’s “Balance of Power,” Pelosi said she was “not a big fan” of the Medicare for All plan proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and endorsed by many Democratic candidates, including occasional frontrunner Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

“I’m not a big fan of Medicare for All. I mean, I welcome the debate. I think that we should have healthcare for all,” Pelosi told host David Westin.

She expressed favor for the Affordable Care Act, a plan she helped pass with former President Barack Obama, saying that its benefits are better than Medicare’s. But she said in order to respect other points of view, Congress had invited advocates of the Medicare plan to testify in several committees.

“But [Medicare for All] is expensive. Who pays is very important and what are the benefits that come in there. So, I would think that hopefully, as we emerge into the election year, the mantra will be more ‘healthcare for all Americans’ because there is a comfort level that some people have with their current private insurance that they have,” she said.

Her comments come a day after Warren released her version of the Medicare for All plans detailing how much it would cost and her proposals on funding it. The plan is expected to significantly raise government spending and give the government a monopoly in the healthcare insurance industry.

Warren’s plan would provide insurance for every person in America but would cost taxpayers $52 trillion over 10 years. She proposed that the money to fund the proposal would come from existing federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid; existing state spending on health insurance; and existing private-sector employer contributions.

Similarly, Sanders has also faced skepticism for his version of the big government healthcare plan. Some analysts estimate the plan would cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

Chris Jacobs, the author of “The Case Against Single Payer: How ‘Medicare for All’ Will Wreck America’s Health Care System―And Its Economy,” told “American Thought Leaders” that the plan would curtail rather than increase many people’s access to high-quality healthcare.

“As anyone who’s ever been to an all-you-can-eat buffet knows, making something free means you want to consume more of it. Now I don’t think people will voluntarily sign up for heart surgery because it’s free, but you will see additional demand for healthcare,” Jacobs said.

At the same time because of quarterly budget limits, hospitals would likely have to lay off some employees while cutting the pay of others.

The result, Jacobs said, would be longer wait times and less access to care, especially in highly specialized fields.

Irene Luo and Joshua Philipp contributed to this report.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.