By Stephanie N. Mehta, Executive Editor

House Speaker (and powerful woman) Nancy Pelosi told a group of media executives and editors that the recently passed health insurance reform bill will lead to new jobs by enabling would-be entrepreneurs to take professional risks such as starting their own companies.

“The entrepreneurial spirit of America is unleashed,” she said, because the bill allows people to leave unsatisfying jobs they keep only for the medical insurance. “I can take risks, I can be entrepreneurial, I can follow my passion,” she told the small audience gathered at the Paley Center for Media in New York. “I can change jobs without fearing that I’m hurting my family.”

During the two-hour conversation, moderated by Paley Center CEO Pat Mitchell, Pelosi repeatedly raised the issue of jobs and unemployment. She noted that some parts of the economy seem to be improving, noting the increase in GDP and stock-market gains. “We have to do more for job creation,” she added.

She suggested that the health bill eventually will create new jobs in medical technology and other areas, as will pending legislation on alternative energy.

Pelosi’s Democrats will face tough competition in the forthcoming midterm elections, and a recent Washington Post article notes that G.O.P. leaders “have made the speaker the face of their effort to retake the House this fall.” Pelosi said she expects the House to maintain its majority. As for the comments from her opponents, Pelosi claimed she’s too busy to watch or read negative commentary.