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How a Republican Learned to Love Obamacare

How a Republican Learned to Love Obamacare

Written by Igor Volsky

Joshua Pittman is a 31-year-old self-employed videographer from Montgomery, Ala. A libertarian Republican who voted for Ron Paul in 2012 and believes that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is the future of the GOP, Pittman sees Barack Obama’s presidency as a “failure” who hasn’t lived up to the nation’s expectations.

But on Tuesday morning, Pittman logged on to and after some initial glitches and delays, successfully enrolled in a Bronze-level Obamacare health insurance plan. “It took me all day, really,” he says with a laugh. “It kicked me out and told me you have to try again, but I knew what I was getting into with so many people exploring it.”

Though he initially supported repealing the law, Pittman became curious about Obamacare in the days and weeks before it launched. For years, he had gone uninsured, thinking he’d be able to “get over anything with a bandaid and a six pack of beer.” But a lead poisoning incident earlier this year shook his confidence and bank account, leaving him with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. “I was a healthy person and it really depleted me financially, so it made me look at things in a different way than I would before. I understood the importance of people being insured.”

“I’ve seen first hand people hitting up the emergency room for free health care and then putting a burden on [everyone else] and that’s not something I would want to do, I want to take personal responsibility … By no means am I trying to take a government handout…it’s not a free handout, you’re paying for this health care, but it’s making it more accessible to more people.”

Asked what he liked about Obamacare, Pittman highlighted its prohibition against denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, noting that he wouldn’t be able to find coverage without it, and said that the policies offered in the marketplace seemed more affordable and comprehensive than those available to him on the individual market. “You may pay $18 a month [for a cheaper plan] and you’re missing a level of coverage. It’s not as easy as you’re going to pay this much a month,” he says.

Government data shows that premiums for an individual Blue Cross and Blue Shield Bronze-level plan in Montgomery County, Ala., averages $160 per month for a 27-year old. An older adult will pay $273 per month.

Pittman doesn’t believe that Obamacare is perfect, but says Republicans in Congress should stop trying to repeal the law and give it a chance to work. “As a Republican, I think [the GOP's repeal effort] is childish and I think this is the wrong way to lead… it’s babyish and I think as a party it just reflects negatively upon us,” he explains.

He predicts that other conservatives will set aside their party politics and do what they feel is best for themselves and their families. “I think there are Republicans that are all types of people who are making these decisions and they’re not basing them on political party. It’s just common sense kind of things. And I think that’s the only way we’re going to make a change in this country if people start thinking on those lines, instead of political party lines.”

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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9:08AM PST on Nov 6, 2013

We do need a single payer system, healthcare should not be a for profit business. Everyone should have the right to good affordable healthcare.

I too have lived in countries with a single payer system, everyone benefits. This is a step in the right direction even if flawed. Stop giving subsidies to the large oil and gas corporations and invest in our healthcare system.

Think how much more could be done with the billions of $$ we let them get away with every year.

1:11AM PDT on Oct 13, 2013

thanks for the article, interesting to read the comments

9:32AM PDT on Oct 12, 2013

In your pm Darryll G. you asked “do you work, do you pay taxes, how much of your tax money do you think the government should give to people who can't afford to pay for Obamacare insurance”

I have worked since I was eight, served in the military [Desert Storm; Black Sea]. I work in the health care field [psychologist] and my first wife was an economist.

First of all our tax dollars are not used properly and there is waste [and this is bipartisan]. Secondly I know the wealthy and large corporations pay no taxes [often getting money for nothing]. Third I have seen how one payer works in other countries [very effective if administered properly]. Fourth our system is a joke: the medical industry jacks up prices, few people can afford it, we have more people die of treatable illnesses then third world toilets and more people in the poor house because of medical bills. The insurance biz is a glorified Ponzi scheme.

In short rethuglicans are worried the truth will come out if a one payer system were in place. That all these years medical care didn’t cost as much as they say it does and they are basically ripping off those who need it most.

7:13PM PDT on Oct 9, 2013

The ACA isn’t perfect [nothing is]; but it’s a step in the right direction. We really need one payer. I’m sure we’ll tweak it in the coming decades, but overall I have no problem with it.

12:39PM PDT on Oct 9, 2013

Aaah yes...just walk a mile in another person's moccasins - changes your outlook huh?

7:22PM PDT on Oct 8, 2013

what an encouraging article! ty

3:20PM PDT on Oct 8, 2013

I believe the Republican's fear of the Affordable Care Act is rooted in the fact that their base are the most in need of health care insurance. If these people, like Mr. Pittman discover that the program actually improves their lives they may abandon the Republican party.

Lies are have a hard time standing up to the truth.

3:14PM PDT on Oct 8, 2013

Jacob R , How about naming those eleven states that have more people on welfare than they have employed.

2:33PM PDT on Oct 8, 2013


1:26PM PDT on Oct 8, 2013

Thanks for sharing!

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