Cancer Survivor and Former Republican Tells Paul Ryan Obamacare Saved His Life

“I want to thank President Obama from the bottom of my heart.”


A former Republican who once worked for the Reagan and Bush campaigns confronted House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, asking why the GOP is seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a serious replacement plan. The moment came during a CNN town hall event, where Jeff Jeans revealed that like Ryan, he too once opposed the health care law.

“When it was passed, I told my wife we would close our business before I complied with this law,” Jeans said. “Then at 49, I was given six weeks to live with a very curable type of cancer. We offered three times the cost of my treatment, which was rejected. They required an insurance card.”

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m standing here today.”

As Ryan attempted to respond, insisting Republicans are working to replace Obamacare with “something better,” Jeans interjected to publicly express his gratitude to the president.

“I want to thank President Obama from the bottom of my heart because I would be dead if it weren’t for him.”

Hours before the televised event, Republicans took a major step at dismantling Obamacare. On Friday morning, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted in support of repeal efforts:

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate