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Nancy Pelosi tells musicians they can quit their jobs because they will have healthcare

May 15, 2010

  Earlier this week Nancy Pelosi stated that she considers the healthcare reform bill an entrepreneurial bill because it will allow people to quit their jobs. Huh?

  This is what she had to say:

We see it as an entrepreneurial bill,” Pelosi said, “a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care

  I am not sure if you can call a musician an entrepreneur, but that is just a side note (pardon the pun) to the main issue here. The bigger issue here is that Nancy Pelosi is urging people to quit their jobs to pursue their dreams because the American taxpayer will foot the bill for their healthcare insurance.

 There is nothing wrong– of course– with pursuing a dream (I, for example, decided to pull the trigger and buy a drum kit from – which is still in it’s box, ironically), but to encourage people to quit working because those of us who work hard will also support these people as well, is just irresponsible. People have been quitting jobs to better themselves and to follow their dreams since the foundation of America and before, but never before have we had a congressman stand up and tell an audience that if they do so the government– meaning of course, the taxpayer– will take care of them.

  Part of going out on your own and following a path in life comes with a little bit of responsibility and self accountability. Many people who go off on their own to live a dream or to start a business do not make it– they fail. That is a part of life and people learn from these experiences and move on.

   But Nancy Pelosi’s statement goes beyond the issue of the taxpayer paying for the healthcare of a person who is willingly not working. It promotes a person’s irresponsibility by removing the consequences for a person’s actions and replacing it with government support. She is telling a person that he or she is free to do whatever they want and that the taxpayer will be there to help them if they cannot help themselves.

   While she may think that this will give an edge to an entrepreneurial person, the entrepreneurial person is already a motivated person and a person that is likely to take personal risks without an assurance from the government. What this statement does is provide people who are less motivated, and people who are less willing to work, an easy excuse to quit working– after all the government urged them to do so by telling them not to worry because the poor suckers who still work will take care of them.

    This will not promote entrepreneurship, it will help to promote a society in which more and more people are dependant on the government to provide people with what they should be providing for themselves. This type of don’t worry, the government will take care of you attitude does not promote a good work ethic, in fact it does just the opposite, it deprives people of a good work ethic. And that might be just what these people want.

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36 Comments leave one →
  1. LD Jackson permalink
    May 15, 2010 9:59 am

    First of all, that has to be the silliest statement I have heard Pelosi make and she has made plenty of them. I have nothing against music, art, etc. and I even play bass guitar myself and I much enjoy music. However, I still have to make a living and be a productive member of our society. There are many times when I would much rather stay at home and not go to work, but that can’t happen if I expect my family to be provided for. It’s not the government’s responsibility to do that or to pay for my health care.


    • May 16, 2010 7:39 am

      Exactly! If someone wants to go off and follow a dream, I say go for it. But don’t expect the taxpayers to pick up the slack.
      Is that her silliest statement? It is hard to decide. 🙂


  2. Jack permalink
    May 15, 2010 10:14 am

    What she’s saying is that people who have been trapped in employment situations because their employers provided healthcare they otherwise could not afford are now free to pursue other options. She’s not telling people to quit their jobs and go on the dole. A “musician or whatever” isn’t someone who refuses to work, but rather, who works in a more tenuous economic environment than a so-called “steady job” at a corporation that provides benefits. Having affordable health care available promotes personal liberty in this regard, allowing a greater range of choices of employment.


  3. The Georgia Yankee permalink
    May 15, 2010 11:57 am

    I read the linked article and listened to the clip a few times. Nevertheless, I missed the part where she said ” . . .because the American taxpayer will foot the bill for their healthcare insurance.”

    The “creative types” are still going to have to pay premiums for their healthcare insurance. The healthcare bill won’t pay for anyone’s healthcare.

    However, it imposes some changes in the way things are done, especially for people with pre-existing conditions. After close to 2 decades in human resources, I’m all too familiar with well-qualified people who were pretty much “locked into” their jobs, to use the phrase Speaker Pelosi did use, because they had a chronic condition like asthma or diabetes, and wouldn’t qualify for health insurance coverage if they changed jobs. While this situation was changed somewhat with HIPAA, it was never applied to privately-purchased insurance.

    I’ve heard conservatives crow about how great it is that we’re an entrepeneurial society, yet they’ve got little to say about this significant barrier to entrepeneurship.

    The new bill will free people to leave their jobs and go into business on their own without jeopardizing their eligibility for privately-purchased health insurance. It won’t pay the bill for that insurance.


    • May 16, 2010 7:45 am

      The one point that you and Jack seem to be missing is, if a person is “trapped” in a job because they need the healthcare, how can a person quit that job and afford to keep the healthcare under thie plan if someone else is not paying for it?


    • Mark permalink
      February 13, 2014 1:14 am

      That is misleading. Anyone who had health insurance since the early 1990’s regardless if it was private insurance were covered for pre-existing condition if they had no lapse (< 59 days) of continuous coverage. It was only those that had private individual I nsurance and pre-existing condition prior to the 1990's and re- enrolled in private individual insurance that the condition wasn't covered. If they re-enrolled in a company group plan the pre- existing condition went away.

      So the job lock you are referring to was those self employed with individual insurance prior 1990 needed to go to work for an employer with group insurance to eliminate the existing condition. After 13 months they could quit and go first under cobra And then convert to private insurance and there would not be pre-existing condition.

      So job lock for those were13 months.


  4. May 15, 2010 12:06 pm

    I’m just curious, but are her numbers in CA tanking like Reids? I hope to God they send this woman packing! Then we can tell her not to worry about losing her job because she will have insurance. (I know. She gets the Cadillac plan for life)


    • May 16, 2010 7:46 am

      I don’t know. She is from San Fan however, so I am sure she represents her constituents well in their opinion.


  5. May 15, 2010 1:59 pm

    Jack and the Georgia defend Pelosi and HC Insurance Reform on the ground that severing health insurance from the employee/er relationship is a good thing. And know what? They are right, severing the two would be a good thing.

    If only that is what this HC Ins. Reform accomplishes. Perhaps you could argue it severs this relationship in cases where the employer will save money by ending coverage and paying the fine to the fed gov’t. But that ain’t necessarily a good thing. That is a whole ‘nother ball of wax where the employee has to buy his own ins, and if he can’t afford it the gov’t will give some sort of tax credit if he’s lucky enough to fall under the criteria, or perhaps he will choose to go uninsured and pay the fine since that is cheaper.

    What a goat rope. And it doesn’t solve anything. Costs won’t go down, only the quality of our healthcare. I actually hope I am wrong on this prediction. But I doubt it.


  6. May 15, 2010 2:17 pm

    She “forgets” the other annoying expenses one needs to have a job to pay for — e.g., food; rent; transportation; equipment, supplies, classes, etc., for pursuing those aspirations. Of course, I suppose one could continually mooch off others, maybe sleep at the homeless shelter, eat at the soup kitchen, panhandle for change, etc. But, at least, now they can get medical treatment. (Oh, wait, hospitals & clinics already treat the homeless & destitute.) Who needs a job?

    Yes, I know I’m taking this to the extreme. But, still….


    • Don de Boisblanc permalink
      November 4, 2010 11:41 am

      She is talking about people who are “locked in” to their current jobs because, for whatever reasons, they couldn’t qualify for adequate health insurance if they quit to pursue other careers.

      Suppose they had a kid who has cystic fibrosis, for example. If the person has health care that is covering the child, they will lose it if they change jobs or even pursue another career.

      She used the “artist” as an example of a person who would have extreme difficulty finding coverage because they work individually and don’t qualify for group plans that have more liberal coverage of pre-existing conditions. She didn’t mean for them to go on a “health coverage dole” as a lot of people have said.

      The sad truth is that there is a large number of people “bound” to their current employment situations because they cannot migrate their health care coverage. This amount to a form of indenture even if it is not generally recognized as such.

      The people that the advocates of this program envision is epitomized by the inventor who has an idea and wants to start a company to pursue his innovation but must stay in his current job because his family would lose coverage otherwise. He is not looking for free health care, just for a reasonable paid plan. In the United States in the 21st century he should be able to find such a thing.

      Sadly, the right wing propaganda machine has taken these comments out of context and tried to make it look like she is in favor of putting all sorts of ne’er do wells on the dole. Nothing is farther from the truth. Actually the opposite is true and more people would be required to pay for the medical services that they are currently recieving from public sources today. This is why the plan will eventually result in a deficit reduction.


  7. Jack permalink
    May 15, 2010 3:51 pm

    Please understand that I’m not defending Pelosi or this health care bill. I’m pointing out that Pelosi is being attributed with a statement that she did not make. Debate of ideas only works if people are intellectually honest, and deal with the actual facts. What often happens is that both sides distort the facts, then argue about, not the facts, but the distortions they have made. That leads to stupid assertions, and coming to stupid conclusions. I doubt that that’s what our Founders would have hoped for the American people.


    • May 15, 2010 9:00 pm

      Thanks for clarifying that you are not defending Pelosi or the new heath insurance law, Jack. Perhaps I too hastily lumped you in with Georgia.

      Let’s deal with the actual facts. In this post, Steve does not claim to be quoting Pelosi verbatim to say: “quit your job.”

      He clearly provided her actual quote, and then he annotated. Commented. You know . . . expounded upon her quote. His interpretation of Pelosi is apparently different from yours. But that does not make either of you guilty of “distorting the facts.”

      But we’re dancing on the head of a pin over an incidental point.

      The real argument between you and folks like me and Steve is not about facts. It is ideologically based. We have a “debate of ideas, which only works if” you debate it head on, rather than getting side-tracked with irrelevant points (like: you are distorting Pelosi’s words; that is not what she said at all, etc).

      I’ve been reading a bit on those founding fathers lately. I haven’t run up on any concerns about political debates having distortions or stupid assertions or stupid conclusions. When you say things like that it sounds like an oblique insult so I think I’ll just take it as such.


      • May 16, 2010 7:53 am

        Thanks nooneofanyimport, I did not twist what Pelosi said. I quoted her and then provided ny interpretation of what she said. If they want to argue that I am wrong about what I think she meant, that is one thing. But to say that I distorted her words when I clearly posted her words ahead of my “rant” is not true.


  8. Jack permalink
    May 15, 2010 3:56 pm

    Sirrahc, you are a good example of what I just said. You distort what Pelosi said, then even accuse her of “forgetting” to mention that artists and musicians, like everyone else, have to pay for all the accoutrements of life: food, rent, transportation, etc. She never suggested anything even remotely like what you’re saying. Then you end by saying you know you’re taking it to the extreme, “But, still….”

    That’s like accusing someone of murder, then saying, “I know he didn’t murder that woman, but, still….”


    • May 15, 2010 9:14 pm

      Yeesh! I KNEW someone would take that wrong. I was going for a mix of hyperbole (or something like it) and sarcasm, but I guess it didn’t work. Not one of my better comments, I suppose.

      Looking back at your initial comments, Jack, I agree with what you say about musicians et al. I have known (semi-)professional musicians, and I have some idea of the difficulties they have to face. I know that artists and actors and others who have a dream they would love to pursue have to deal with similar uncertainties. And, they don’t usually want to go “on the dole”, either. But, of course, my remarks were not meant to disparage them.

      My point was that there are other considerations besides healthcare and that one should not be encouraged to up-n-quit one’s job once that is covered by the government. (Not commenting on the wisdom of government-run & -provided healthcare, right now.) There are some “dreamer” types who don’t really think these things through.

      By putting “forget” in quotes, I was implying that Pelosi didn’t literally forget. Of course, she knows this (even if she does have everything taken care of for her). But, based on the quote, she seems to be oversimplifying things. Granted, it was a brief clip from a longer speech, but it still seems like an irresponsible statement whose real purpose was to say “See how we progressives are helping the ‘little guy’ follow their dreams.”

      Regarding the quote,… Georgia Yankee asked where Pelosi said, “because the American taxpayer will foot the bill for their healthcare insurance.” This was, of course, not part of what Pelosi said in the clip. It was Steve’s (and CNSNews’s Ballasy’s) following through of the implications of her statement. Sure, once employed in their craft or dream job, they will be required to buy health insurance if they aren’t covered by an employer. But, in the meantime, the implication is something along the lines of “Don’t worry about being gainfully employed while you do your thing. We’ve got you covered!”


  9. May 17, 2010 1:36 pm

    How is it entrepreneurial to ask someone to pursue a dream without a business plan? Unless the plan is to look like a starving musician?


  10. Deb permalink
    May 18, 2010 4:37 pm

    I think a lot of us wish we were not “job-locked”! But oh well! Life’s not fair, someone has to do it. I’d rather it be me, for a whole host of reasons.


  11. one permalink
    May 20, 2010 8:33 pm

    I think her point was that musicians could pursue a music career, you know, one where you play gigs in clubs, in shows, in concerts; gigs that pay money but don’t provide coverage for healthcare. These musicians would no longer have to take a full-time job just to get healthcare. I think many of you misunderstood her.


    • May 20, 2010 8:36 pm

      But the point is, the taxpayer would still have to pay for this person’s healthcare. That is the problem.


      • Chad permalink
        May 25, 2010 12:05 am

        So working musicians aren’t taxpayers?


      • May 25, 2010 6:05 am

        I guess you missed the whole “quit working” aspect.


      • Chad permalink
        May 25, 2010 2:58 pm

        By “leave your work” I’m pretty sure Pelosi meant simply quitting your day job. She didn’t mean sit around and do nothing. Healthcare is great, but it’s not going to pay your bills or put food on your table. So I really don’t understand your conclusion that this is somehow going to create a new generation of layabouts with no work ethic.

        I am a full-time musician. I make a living playing music and I pay taxes. I know it was beside your point, but it’s really not that hard to understand how a musician is an entrepreneur. It’s a business like any other. You provide a service, you get paid for it.

        What if Pelosi hadn’t said anything about musicians or artists, and just talked about the self-employed, the freelance contractors? Plumbers and carpenters. Would you still be worked up about this? Because the principle is the same. The only difference is the nature of the service being provided.


  12. May 25, 2010 4:37 pm


    Health insurance definitely does not pay the bills, but when you quit your day job, by Pelosi’s system, you will qualify to have someone else foot the bill for your insurance. The inherent problem therein is that people are encouraged to just go out and do things as opposed to plan and organize in order to fulfill a dream. That’s what has them so worked up — not the profession, but the mentality that someone else will pay for you.


    • Chad permalink
      May 25, 2010 6:19 pm

      Do you really believe that’s Pelosi is saying? “Just go out and do things as opposed to plan and organize in order to fulfill a dream”? You are reading in a lot between the lines which I think is chalked up more to paranoia than rationality.

      Repeatedly on this page I see a line being drawn between someone quitting their job to follow a dream and the stalwart “taxpayer” who keeps his dayjob. The self-employed are also taxpayers. There is no great divide here.


      • May 25, 2010 9:18 pm

        LOUDelf summed it up for me. It is the idea that people who work hard for a living to give their families everything they can must now also work to pay for others that I find offensive. By definition, if you are a full time musician, than that is your day job. If you cannot afford healthcare that is not my problem. This goes for everybody, not just musicians.
        On a side note, my son is a guitar player, and in my opinion is very talented, and he hopes to make a living in the music industry in one form or another. But I would never tell him that if he can’t provide for his owm future family someday not to worry about it because others will foot the bill for him. That is not being responsible.


      • May 26, 2010 11:35 am

        The self-employed only pay taxes if they have profits. Many businesses fail not due to lack of talent or passion, but due to lack of business understanding.

        Let me ask you this: Is it irrational to think that someone who has advocated for higher taxes, increased social programs to a larger and larger percentage of the population, heatlhcare insurance subsidized by a sliver of the population, and allowing in anyone who wants to come to this country while taxpayers fund this, would be opposed to having more people come onto the state-sponsored programs? Is it paranoia to apply the statement “He who robs Peter to pay Paul, will always have the support of Paul” to a politician, especially Pelosi?

        No, it’s quite rational to believe a politician in a party that wants more and more federal control of everything, that points the finger at “the rich” as the root of all problems, would honestly tell someone to quit their job and become dependent on the state, and therefor the people and the party that supports this (hence vote for them).

        Pelosi has made some blunders and spoken her mind, and this is one of those times.


      • Chad permalink
        May 26, 2010 5:50 pm

        Again, as others have pointed out here already, it’s really very simple. It used to be difficult for the self-employed to get decent health insurance. Now it will be easier.

        There are some things I think are worth paying taxes for. National defense is one, education is another. Police protection, fire departments, libraries, check check check. All of these things for the betterment and safety of our nation, right? Well, healthcare I would put before ALL of those things for the same reason. It seems like a total no-brainer to me. Your kids need an education? You got it. Burglars in your neighborhood? We’ll keep an eye out for your safety. Your house is on fire? We’ll put it out for you. You have cancer? Sorry, you’re on your own. I have never understood that mentality.

        It saddens me that this freaks all of you out so much. Steve, the fact is that now it will likely be easier for your son to achieve his goals, with less risk put to his health. I hope someday you come to appreciate that. I wish your son the best of luck — the music industry is a tough business to be in, but it is also very rewarding and worth every bit of hard work you can muster.


  13. Diane Haines permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:34 pm

    i think Mrs. Pelosi has every form of dementia known to the medical profession. Unfortunately she is the Speaker of the House and I’m still trying to figure out how and why she got there. > We were and have been all asleep. She is unspeakable so I will end right here


  14. May 27, 2010 11:54 am


    As a self-employed person, I never had a problem getting health insurance… including while in the music field myself. The issue is not access, as it’s always been there, it’s who is going to pay. Pelosi’s model is to have those that don’t want to sacrifice lean on those who do. Yeah, go out and follow your dreams, and we’ll get you lower-priced (to the proverbial you maybe) healthcare and just charge it to others who have delayed or sacrificed their dreams for the reality of self-sustainment.

    Police/fire/national defense is something that people are incapable of performing with any efficiency as they are immediate and emergency needs. Healthcare is something that can be planned for. You may get surprised with cancer (to use your example), but it does not kill you right then and there, as a home-invader might. Asking for more government involvement in anything insures that cost will go up, efficiency and quality go down. Pelosi was one of the ones decrying the big insurance companies and their “evil” practices, yet in her (and her cadre) infinite wisdom, she forced everyone now to buy from them. Yeah, that’ll reduce the cost — drive up demand.

    The smarter thing to do, that would have focused people to be self-supporting would have been to open up the market as opposed to closing it. Let people shop for plans that are best suited for them nation-wide. Force the companies to put their policies in plain language so that the average high school grad would have been able to read them and decide. Expand HSA limits to allow people who want to self-insure to take that course — the reduce in demand would make insurers hungrier for the business. Institute tort reform and get the lawsuits under control. This would have taken some of the cost basis out, and therefor allowed aggressive companies to offer lower-cost options for people who sought them.

    The bottom line is that Pelosi and crew promote people to be lazy as when the perceived need for government assistance rises, their rhetoric seems more justified. The problem is that right now, about 50% of taxpayers are supporting in some part the other 50%. As the number of actual federal taxpayers decreases, we’re going to end up with massive problems, and go-getters like yourself will have more than a piano on your back.


  15. oic permalink
    February 14, 2011 7:47 am

    She means that you can feel free to move to other professions because you won’t be shackled to a job you hate and/or doesn’t pay high enough wage but a person stays because it gives them health care which they desperately need. It’s not really that hard to understand. If people have more freedom, they will be happier and more productive members of society, they will be less likely to fall into needing government aid and will pump more money into the tax system. They’ll be less likely to suffer mental afflictions such as depression. I’m currently unemployed because I can’t get healthcare, which would enable me to work if my medical issues could be treated. But understanding all this would involve open minded thinking to see how these things are a little more complicated than your knee jerk sensationalize here.


    • February 14, 2011 9:11 pm

      So, under Obamacare you will still be unemployed but you will be forced to buy coverage which you may not be able to afford or else you will pay a penalty, and this is progress? He hasn’t made insurance more affordable and he hasn’t given people without healthcare coverage, he has simply said that if you do not have healthcare you had better go out and get it. That isn’t providing care, it is mandating that you get care. There is a huge difference.



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