House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) doubled down on the importance of the individual mandate Thursday morning, just days before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
“You have to have the mandate for [health reform] to work from a financial standpoint,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference, implying that some Democrats may advocate for a mechanism that requires individuals to purchase insurance even if the existing provision is ruled unconstitutional. “I believe the court will rule in favor. We’re iron clad constitutionally, we’re iron clad on the constitution,” Pelosi — who has long maintained that the Court will uphold the law in a 6 to 3 decision — said, but noted that it would be difficult to retain some of the law’s popular provisions in the absence of the individual requirement:
PELOSI: You have to eat your vegetables — you have to have the mandate in order for this to work from a financial standpoint…If Americans like the idea that they and their children cannot be deprived for a lifetime of health care insurance because of a pre-existing health care condition, then that will require some other action if that is to happen. And what would that be? There could be something passed in the Congress, similar to what we had originally in the House bill, which was a surcharge on the wealthy to pay for aspects of that … States can take their own actions … We cannot say to the American people, we are going to throw you on the mercy of insurance companies who refuse coverage to you.
“Let’s hope and pray that the Court will love the Constitution more than it loves broccoli and that we will have a decision that is based on the merits and the Constitution of the United States,” Pelosi concluded.
Her tone is a stark contrast to the stance of some Democrats who have hinted that they will stress the law’s other benefits should the court invalidate the unpopular individual requirement.