Jeff Jeans, a lifelong Republican and cancer patient, confronted Paul Ryan on Obamacare -- and he's going viral
Credit: CNN

Jeff Jeans, a cancer patient and lifelong Republican, defended Obamacare to House Speaker Paul Ryan during a CNN town hall on Thursday. "I want to thank President Obama from the bottom of my heart because I'd be dead if it weren't for him," he said in the video, which has since gone viral online.

Moderated by CNN's Jake Tapper, the town hall gave Americans an opportunity to express their concerns to Ryan about the GOP's goal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As Tapper prefaced, Jeans "was a lifelong Republican, but then something happened."

Jeans, an entrepreneur from Arizona, explained to Ryan, "I was a Republican and I worked for the Reagan and Bush campaigns. Just like you, I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act. When it was passed, I told my wife we would close our business before I complied with this law. Then, at 49, I was given six weeks to live with a very curable type of cancer."

"We offered three times the cost of my treatments, which was rejected," he continued. "They required an insurance card. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I'm standing here today alive. Being both a small business person and someone with pre-existing conditions, I rely on the Affordable Care Act to be able to purchase my own insurance."

Jeans then asked, "Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?"

Ryan argued that the GOP wants to "replace it with something better," further explaining, "We want to do this at the same time, and in some cases in the same bill. So we want to advance repealing this law with its replacement at the same time."

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According to the Associated Press, the House voted to adopt a measure that would make it easier to send an Obamacare repeal bill through to the Senate without the threat of a Democratic filibuster. The time table for the repeal is uncertain, but Ryan promised at the town hall to tackle this within the first "100 days" of Donald Trump's presidency.

A replacement option has yet to be introduced, but Trump said during a recent press conference a "repeal-and-replace option" will be utilized as soon as the Senate approves his nominee for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, Tom Price.

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