Outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said recently that out of everything she has done over the last four years as leader of the chamber, "nothing compares" with the successful passage of the health care reform package in March.
In an interview with Politico, Pelosi said:
"If we had never passed the bill, we would still have had these losses. We were told a year ago: 'If you're anywhere near 10 percent unemployment, there's no chance you can hold the majority.'"
"Nothing compares -- in anything I have ever done -- with passing the health care bill."
More important than being speaker?
"Is that even a question? Not even close," she said. "To me personally? Definitely."
Pelosi's pride and confidence in the merits of the landmark legislation is indicative of a new emphasis on Democratic stewardship prompted by the GOP takeover of the House and increasing calls to strip away key initiatives from the health care overhaul bill.
Polling data regarding public perception of the legislation has been similarly unkind to Democrats. Though the popularity of health care reform has fluctuated greatly since its passage, a poll released earlier this month -- just as a Republican-appointed judge ruled part of the law unconstitutional -- showed support for the legislation at an all-time low.
But Democrats have decided to renew their efforts to defend their trademark legislation against the latest assault.
The Hill reported on Tuesday that this will include a new push to educate Americans on the immediate and forthcoming benefits of the legislation.
Ways and Means health subpanel Chairman Pete Stark (D-Calif.) unveiled a 14-page report last week to help Democrats hone their arguments against repeal. It's a compilation of the law's benefits, such as subsidies for most people to buy insurance and the requirement that insurance plans cover even people with pre-existing conditions.
"The Republicans failed, but they won't give up," Stark said. "Now, they want to refight the battles of the past. It is up to Democrats to make clear how dangerous their agenda really is."