At the White House, former soap opera star Jerry Penacoli turned-TV anchor interviewed President Obama and thanked him for Obamacare, which he insists, saved his life and personal finances while battling melanoma and thyroid cancer.
“Thank you, you pretty much saved my finances and you saved my life,” Penacoli said emotionally as he sat at a table at the White House with the president.
Obama acknowledged the comment approvingly, adding that Penacoli was the “perfect example” of why he worked so hard to pass Obamacare.
“Despite all the politics and noise around it, what’s happened now is millions have health insurance who didn’t have it before, people who did have health insurance before like you, Jerry, are much more secure in the insurance that they’ve got, it’s costing less than anybody expected, it’s working well,” he said.
As Penacoli strolled through the Rose Garden with Obama, he asked, “Do you ever come out here to the Rose Garden and just stop and smell the roses?”
“I do,” Obama replied with a grin.
At another point in the interview, Penacoli asked him how he dealt with all the stress of being a dad to teenage daughters while leading the free world and preparing for his post-presidency.
“The truth is the girls are wonderful. They work hard, they work a lot harder than I ever did when I was a kid… most importantly, they’re kind, they’re respectful, they don’t have an attitude,” he said.
Penacoli detailed his healthcare journey in an interview with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, explaining that prior to Obamacare, his lifetime benefits had run out during his treatment.
“Once the Affordable Care Act was enacted, you know, I heard an hallelujah chorus in my head and everything else because my lifetime benefits were back,” he said. “And there was even better news. There was no cap.”
He admitted that he was just one person who struggled with health care expenses, describing himself a “middle class individual.”
“Imagine all the other people who don’t have a platform like this to really tell their story,” he said.
Sharpton agreed, saying: “What is so striking about your story, here you are, clearly a successful person, solid middle class American, not looking for a handout, not a freeloader, but just got beyond the means of what you could pay with insurance.”