‘I Would Be Dead’: Longtime Republican Tells Paul Ryan He’s Thankful For Obama and the ACA


During tonight’s CNN town hall, Speaker Paul Ryan engaged with people in the audience who separately raised serious issues they care about. The video above features three such exchanges with people asking Ryan about health care, securing the border, and fears of deportation.

The first, a cancer patient named Jeff Jeans — a longtime Republican who worked on the campaign’s of Presidents Reagan and Bush, told Ryan he was a Republican opposed to Obamacare, but then shared his story and said, “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m standing here today alive.” He even personally thanked President Obama, furthering, “I want to thank President Obama from the bottom of my heart because I would be dead if it weren’t for him.” Jeans expressed to Ryan that he doesn’t understand why Republicans would want to repeal the law without a replacement.

Ryan argued that Republicans do want to replace it with something better; with a law that’s not “destroying the rest of the health care system for everybody else.” He listed off issues with Obamacare like rising premiums and said, “The worst is yet to come.”

Jake Tapper jumped in to ask whether the attempt to repeal Obamacare will coincide with the replacement efforts. Ryan said, “We want to do this at the same time.”

The other two exchanges in the video above concern immigration reform from mothers with very different takes on the matter.

Mary Ann Mendoza‘s son was killed by an illegal immigrant, and she asked Ryan about cracking down on sanctuary cities and securing the border. “Are you,” she asked him, “going to stand up for America, Speaker Ryan?”

Ryan affirmed that he opposes sanctuary cities and wants the law enforced across the country, focusing specifically on deporting violent criminals.

Angelica Villalobos, meanwhile, told Ryan that she’s protected from deportation because of DACA and she fears that if it’s rolled back her daughter will lose her mother. She asked, “Do you think that I should be deported and many of the families in my situation should be deported?”

Ryan assured her he doesn’t want to see good families separated and said, “If you’re worried about some deportation force knocking on your door this year, don’t worry about that.”

Tapper pointed out that Trump has used the words “deportation force” in the past. Ryan insisted that it’s not going to happen.

Watch both exchanges above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac