Hours after Republican-led Senate took the first “concrete step” toward repealing the Affordable Care Act, Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) engaged with CNN’s town hall attendees in Washington moderated by host Jake Tapper.
While the event covered a number of important policy issues the GOP plans to tackle in the incoming administration, the most poignant moment came when a cancer survivor explained Ryan how the ACA saved his life and asked why Republicans would want to dismantle the law.
Attendee Jeff Jeans told Ryan he was a former GOP voter who had switched parties after Obamacare helped save his life.
“When it was passed, I told my wife we would close our business before I comply 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 treatments, which was rejected. They required an insurance card. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m standing here today alive.”
As Jeans wondered why Republicans would want to dismantle a law that provided health coverage to 20 million previously uninsured Americans, that too without a replacement plan, Ryan gave an answer that was unsympathetic, to say the least.
The House speaker also failed to give a concrete answer as to what exactly was going to serve as Obamacare’s replacement program. He merely said it was going to be “better.”
But that’s exactly what the GOP’s response has been ever since they started waging a war against President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. They haven’t yet clarified exactly how the ACA will be replaced.
On Thursday, after Republicans came up with a plan to use special budget procedures, which would allow them to repeal Obamacare by a simple majority, many people took to Twitter to express their disappointment and dread over losing health coverage:
@keithellison As a breast cancer survivor, this is a death sentence for me.— Amelia (@AmeliaEarhart1) January 12, 2017
As a Stage 3 cancer survivor I'm ineligible for life insurance and soon won't be able to afford health insurance. Is this how "great" feels?— Ron Krasnow (@BrooklynRon) January 12, 2017
I have cystic fibrosis. If the ACA is repealed people like me will lose coverage. People like me will die. #SavetheACA— Mike T ?????? (@MikeIsntTrash) January 12, 2017
ACA is not perfect but it saved me & millions of others with pre-existing conditions. Improve it, but don't take it away. Please. #SaveACA— TheBloggess (@TheBloggess) January 12, 2017