David Jolly, a former Republican member of Congress who campaigned against Obamacare, said he’s had a change of heart since losing his own health insurance this year.
Jolly, who represented Florida’s 13th Congressional District until he was unseated last fall, opened up about his personal health care struggles during a discussion of the GOP health care bill Monday on MSNBC.
“I lost my doctor, and I lost my plan in 2013, and I was angry about Obamacare, and I ran for Congress,” Jolly said. “But in 2017, as an unemployed person with a preexisting condition, I knew Obamacare was there as a safety net if my wife and I needed it.”
Jolly became unemployed Jan. 4, when his term in Congress ended. He didn’t elaborate on his medical condition.
“While I ultimately chose a private-sector plan, I also knew in 2017 [that] Obamacare provided an exchange that was a safety net that wasn’t there before,” Jolly said. “To be honest with you, if I had had to rely on it, I knew it was there.”
Jolly won the congressional seat in a 2014 special election that featured much debate about the Affordable Care Act. He told the Washington Examiner shortly after his victory that he thought voters saw Obamacare as a “manifestation” of fears about government intrusion. He was defeated in 2016 by former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Obamacare, with its mandate requiring health insurance, has driven the uninsured rate to an historic low. The law also requires health insurance companies to provide coverage to people with preexisting conditions.
The Trump administration and congressional GOP allies have pledged to repeal Obamacare and pass new health care legislation. The House and Senate health care bills would leave millions of American uninsured, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Jolly also has been critical of President Donald Trump, declaring his presidency “done” during an interview in May.
“We need a Congress who speaks up against a president who has shown in the past 30 days some very risky behavior as the chief executive,” Jolly said on CNN.