WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Democrats can win back the House if they can effectively improve Medicare without destroying it to save it, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.
"What we're about is policy," the California Democrat told ABC News. "What we want is to change the view that the Republicans have that it is OK to abolish Medicare [and] to make seniors pay more for less while we give tax breaks to big oil. That's not a formula that I think works for the middle class."
Cuts to seniors' Medicare benefits are "absolutely" off the table in the current legislative-White House deficit-reduction talks, Pelosi said.
Eliminating Medicare fraud and lowering government costs associated with the government program that provides health coverage to people who are 65 and over would be good, she said, because it would cut the federal debt.
"When you talk about Medicare, the first thing I would do if I ruled the world would be to allow the secretary of [Health and Human Services] to negotiate for lower prices. That would save tens of billions of dollars," Pelosi said.
Republicans describing their deficit-reduction plan as the solution to the debt crisis are forgetting its cause, she added.
"People don't want to hear about how we got here, but we got here because of the policies of President [George W.] Bush and we don't want to repeat them," she said. "And so we want to have something different. We want to have investment in jobs. We want to have revenue on the table so that we can reduce the deficit, and we have to make cuts."
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