An anchor for the entertainment news program Extra, Jerry Penacoli scored an important and rare interview with POTUS on Thursday. He visited the White House's Rose Garden and talked to President Obama about raising daughters, sports and his last year in office. But perhaps the most poignant moment was when Jerry Penacoli thanked Obama for Obamacare saving his life.
In the interview, Penacoli recounted his struggle with third-stage melanoma and first-stage thyroid cancer. Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), helped him get through it, he said.
"You pretty much saved my finances and my life," he told the president. In response, Obama noted:
One of the goals for the Affordable Care Act was not just to help people get insurance who didn't have it, it was to give better protections for people who already had insurance.
You were a perfect example of somebody who could be caught with debilitating bills or not being able to get the care you needed, so a lot of the protections essentially made existing insurance better for a lot of people.
Obama has granted such soft-hitting interviews to various TV outlets before, chiefly to tout his policies. The Extra interview airs at a time when the Supreme Court is considering whether to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
If it rules against the administration, more than 9 million Americans in 34 states will lose much-needed health insurance subsidies because they bought insurance on a federal marketplace rather than state-run exchanges.
The decision is expected to come sometime this month.