Former GOP Rep. Jolly: Affordable Care Act gave me a ‘safety net’

Gabby Kaufman
Reporter
Republican David Jolly during a candidate forum in February 2014. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Reuters)

While members of his party scramble to repeal the Affordable Care Act, former Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., praised it as a “safety net” for unemployed people with pre-existing conditions — as he recently was.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” Monday, Jolly alluded to the backlash against the House and Senate health care bills, saying “the politics of Obamacare in 2017 are different than 2013.” Jolly ran on an anti-Affordable Care Act platform, winning a special election in 2014 before losing his seat in 2016.

“On January 4, I was a former member of Congress, unemployed, with no health insurance, and a pre-existing condition,” Jolly, who is 44, said. “And while I ultimately chose a private sector plan, I also knew in 2017, Obamacare provided an exchange that was a safety net that wasn’t there before. And to be honest with you, if I had had to rely on it, I knew it was there.

“That’s why the politics of Obamacare in 2017 are different than 2013,” he continued. “I lost my doctor, and I lost my plan in 2013, and I was angry about Obamacare, and I ran for Congress. But in 2017, as an unemployed person with a pre-existing condition, I knew Obamacare was there as a safety net if my wife and I needed it.”

Jolly’s comments came on the heels of the Congressional Budget Office’s evaluation of the Senate health bill, which determined 22 million people would lose their insurance by 2026, including 15 million in the next year alone. The House version would leave 23 million more people uninsured by 2026, with 14 million losing their insurance in the next year, according to the same nonpartisan agency.

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