Obamacare Saves A Staunch Opponent’s Life — He’s Now An ACA Advocate

Dean Angstadt (left) opposed Obamacare until his friend Bob Leinhauser persuaded him to sign up just in time for life-saving heart surgery.. Image: Philadelphia Inquirer
Dean Angstadt (left) opposed Obamacare until his friend Bob Leinhauser persuaded him to sign up. Image: Philadelphia Inquirer

When self-employed logger Dean Angstadt, 57, first heard about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, he wanted nothing to do with it, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I don’t read what the Democrats have to say about it because I think they’re full of it,” he told his friend Bob Leinhauser, who suggested he sign up.

Angstadt had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted in 2011 that he had paid for himself, and began having more health problems last summer. He tried to work extra hard so that he could pay for the needed surgery, but he reached a point where simple activities like walking were becoming difficult. He finally changed his tune about the ACA when a faulty aortic valve almost killed him. He was forced to buy an insurance plan through the Obamacare exchanges.

“A lot of people I talk to are so misinformed about the ACA,” Angstadt said. “I was, before Bob went through all this for me. I would recommend it to anybody and, in fact, have encouraged friends, including the one guy who hauls my logs.”

He and Leinhauser argued for months about whether or not Angstadt should sign up for a plan and in January, his doctor was clear: undergo a valve-replacement surgery or die. Leinhauser went to Angsts’s house and helped him enroll in less than an hour. Angstadt now has the Highmark Blue Cross silver PPO with a monthly premium of $26.11.

“All of a sudden, I’m getting notification from Highmark, and I got my card, and it was actually all legitimate,” he said. “I could have done backflips if I was in better shape.”

His plan kicked in on March 1 and he had surgery on March 31.

“I probably would have ended up falling over dead” without the surgery, Angstadt said. “Not only did it save my life, it’s going to give me a better quality of life.”

“For me, this isn’t about politics,” he added. “I’m trying to help other people who are like me, stubborn and bullheaded, who refused to even look. From my own experience, the ACA is everything it’s supposed to be and, in fact, better than it’s made out to be.”

Tiffany Willis Clark is a fifth-generation Texan and the founder and editor-in-chief of Liberal America and AmReading.com. An unapologetic member of the Christian Left, she had a long and successful career actively working with at-risk youth, people struggling with poverty and unemployment, and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. She’s passionate about their struggles. In 2011, she made the decision to pursue her dreams and become a full-time writer. Connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook page.