The story of Dean Angstadt’s sudden embrace of Obamacare made MSNBC last night. Host Chris Hayes picked up on a heartwarming story in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a 57-year-old logger of Boyertown, Pa., who’d resisted signing up for Obamacare coverage but finally relented under the urging of a friend.
Noted Hayes of Angstadt, “He was so resistant to the thought of submitting to the tyrannical Obamacare pushed by a party he despises that he refused to sign up, even though he needed to have a heart valve replaced. Finally, his friend basically staged an intervention, helping him apply and choose a plan, which then enabled him to have life-saving surgery. And without that, Angstadt says — quote — ‘I probably would have ended up falling over dead.'”
In an interview with the Erik Wemple Blog today, Angstadt reported having watched that MSNBC segment online today. It was an introduction of sorts: “You wouldn’t have caught me dead watching MSNBC,” said Angstadt. “That’s probably the longest I’d ever sat and watched MSNBC in my life.”
Angstadt was in bad condition prior to his March 31 valve-replacement surgery. “I was going to die,” he told this blog. “I was preparing myself. I knew I was pretty sick since last October.” Yet he still resisted the attempts of friend Bob Leinhauser to get him enrolled in Obamacare. “I had to back him into a corner,” says Leinhauser, who worked for 27 years for Montgomery County’s fire and rescue department. He told Angstadt, “You’re what we call a cardiac cripple.”
After signing up for insurance via the Obamacare exchange, Angstadt pays $26.11 for the Highmark Blue Cross silver PPO plan, as reported by the Inquirer. The policy took effect just before Angstadt’s surgery.
But what accounts for Angstadt’s resistance to Obamacare in the first place? He says that he “leans” Republican and essentially listened to what the GOP had to say about Obamacare, and not so much to what the Democrats had to say. As for his media diet, Anstadt says he goes online for some of his news, but when it comes to television, “Fox News, of course, and that’s basically what I watch on TV,” in addition to local news, he says. “I like some of those radicals” on Fox News, he says. “I like O’Reilly.”
Asked if Fox News had molded his view of Obamacare, Angstadt responded, “Yeah, yeah — they get people fired up. You know what, I really do have a different outlook on it. It’s really wrong that people are making it into a political thing. To me, it is a life-and-death thing.” Of Obamacare’s namesake, Angstadt says, “I didn’t care for Obama. I can’t say nothing bad about him now because it was his plan that probably saved my life.”
It’s no wonder why Angstadt likes Fox News’s programming. After all, he prides himself on not taking handouts from anyone — which sort of explains his initial refusal to apply for Obamacare — and has worked hard as a self-employed logger. Fox News, and particularly O’Reilly’s prime-time show, passes up few opportunities to endorse those values — a strain of programming that’s invariably coupled with denunciations of the “entitlement society.”
It’s a fabulous, irresistible story — friendship, renewal, hard work, self-sufficiency. Perfect stuff, in fact, for the folks at Fox News.