Pelosi didn’t say Congress would have to vote for the ACA to know what’s in it


In another thread, Ron wrote:

The ACA is one example, when even the then-Speaker of the House said that Congress would have to vote for it to find out what’s in it…

Ron, regarding that Pelosi quote, here’s how Politico reported it the day Pelosi said it:

Pelosi: People won’t appreciate reform until it passes

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that people won’t appreciate how great the Democrat’s health plan is until after it passes.

“You’ve heard about the controversies, the process about the bill…but I don’t know if you’ve heard that it is legislation for the future – not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America,” she told the National Association of Counties annual legislative conference, which has drawn about 2,000 local officials to Washington. “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy.”

During a 20-minute speech, she touted benefits she thinks will be tangible to the audience’s employers. She said there’s support for public health infrastructure and investments in community health centers that will reduce uncompensated care that hospitals now need to deliver.

“You know as well as anyone that our current system is unsustainable,” said Pelosi (D-Calif.). “The final health care legislation, which will soon be passed by the Congress, will deliver successful reforms at the local level.”

She was saying that Americans won’t fully appreciate everything they get from Obamacare until it’s been implemented and in place for a while. She was NOT saying “Congress would have to vote for it to find out what’s in it.” There is simply no reasonable interpretation of Pelosi’s quote, in context, which would lead a fair observer to conclude she was saying Congress didn’t know what it voted for. (Indeed, if you read the full text of her speech, she had just spent two paragraphs describing some of the ACA’s specific effects.)

I can understand why you’d be mistaken about that – the media (and in particular right-wing media) has lied about what Pelosi said, if not from day one, then certainly from day two or so. But now that you’ve been told the truth, I hope you won’t repeat that canard again.

Incidentally, I defy anyone to name any legislation in our lifetime that has been more thoroughly covered in more detail before passage than the ACA. We had two years – at least – of play-by-play discussion of every legislative proposal related to the ACA before it passed. There was commentary from specialized ACA-beat reporters and health economists constantly available on the web the whole time. I’m not saying knowledge was perfect – it never is. But anyone who complains that information on the ACA wasn’t available before passage must have kept their head shoved firmly in their pants for two years or more, because that’s the only way to have so completely missed out on that news story.

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