Fox News is hurting our country and the very people it relies on for viewership. Since the Affordable Care Act became law, the right-wing in this country has been trying to convince people not to get insurance, not to trust “Obamacare” and they have instilled an irrational fear of it in a large swath of the country.
This story is just one illustration of how Fox News and the misinformation they spew has real consequences.
Dean Angstadt fells trees for a living.
He’s a self-employed, self-sufficient logger who has cleared his own path for most of his 57 years, never expecting help from anyone. And even though he’d been uninsured since 2009, he especially wanted nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.
“I don’t read what the Democrats have to say about it because I think they’re full of it,” he told his friend Bob Leinhauser, who suggested he sign up.
Before I get to the rest of the story, read this quote from a piece by Eric Wemple about Dean Angstadt’s experience…
Asked if Fox News had molded his view of Obamacare, Angstadt responded, “Yeah, yeah – they get people fired up. You know what, I really do have a different outlook on it.”
I went for many years without health insurance and can relate to Dean’s situation. My family has a history of heart problems, my dad and his brother both died of heart attacks in their early 40’s…so yeah, going without health insurance as I approached 40 years old was a bit scary. Thankfully, I took my current job at the university and began taking care of myself after I got insurance through my employer. More of Dean’s story…
In 2011, Angstadt had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted to help his ailing heart pump more efficiently. Not long after, the almost 6-foot, 285-pound man’s man was back in the woods, doing the Paul Bunyan thing.
But last summer, his health worsened again. It was taking him 10 minutes to catch his breath after felling a tree. By fall, he was winded after traveling the 50 feet between his house and truck.
“I knew that I was really sick,” said the Boyertown resident. “I figured the doctors were going to have to operate, so I tried to work as long as I could to save money for the surgery. But it got to the point where I couldn’t work.”
Here is a great article from Jon Favreau, someone who knows President Obama quite well, having been his speech writer since 2005 when President Obama first entered the Senate. Go read it all, here are my favorite parts…
The warnings of those advisers turned out to be true. On the day Scott Brown won an upset victory in the special election to fill the Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, it appeared that the chances for reform had died along with history’s most passionate health-care champion. Obama’s advisers told him that the votes in Congress were no longer there, and that unless he was willing to cut his losses and accept a drastically scaled-back version of his health-care proposal—perhaps a small expansion of coverage for children or a few watered-down consumer protections—the political fallout could cost him reelection. And what the president said next is why so many of us chose to work for him in the first place:
“What are we here for? Did we come here to just put our approval ratings up on a shelf and admire them? Or are we here to try to make a difference—to actually start solving some of the problems we’ve talked about for so long?”
Barely two months after the press wrote countless obituaries for the Affordable Care Act, Democrats in Congress showed genuine political courage by voting it into law.
Now is the time to show that courage again.
But the president should never apologize for passing the Affordable Care Act, and neither should those of us who have supported this kind of reform for years, even decades. We didn’t fight for this law because it was good politics. We didn’t fight for this law with the hope that it would lead to some ideological victory for big government—otherwise we wouldn’t have proposed a plan that maintained the private insurance market with reforms that Republicans once championed.
We fought for this law because no other advanced democracy on Earth gave insurance companies free rein to profit by discriminating against all but the healthiest and wealthiest citizens. We fought for this law because 14,000 Americans, most of them working and middle class, were losing their health insurance every day—with no other options. We fought for this law because millions of other Americans thought they had decent coverage until their insurance company refused to pay for treatment that someone in their family desperately needed; because people died as a direct result of not being able to afford better health care.
The reason we fought so hard for this law—the reason Obama is willing to stake his entire legacy on making it work—is because so many of us have had a personal experience with the fear and vulnerability that comes with being sick.