LAS VEGAS • Insurance agent Patrick Casale, 55, had booked a function room at the San Jose Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for an event at which he hoped to generate new clients.
But on a Thursday morning, he was sitting alone at a table in the front of the 2,000 sq ft room.
"Nobody's here because I didn't advertise it. And that's because I just found out that the insurance providers are not paying me any commissions next year. But I already paid for the room," he said.
Mr Casale is one of the insurance agents who have become casualties of rules in the reformed healthcare legislation known as the Affordable Care Act.
Because of rules that restrict how insurance companies spend their money, many firms have declared that they would no longer pay brokers a commission.
Mr Casale, who was making US$250,000 (S$350,000) a year selling health insurance, said: "I've taken a 60 per cent pay cut. Now I'm 55 and I've got to reinvent myself." He says he is voting for Republican nominee Donald Trump because he is fed up with how the government is growing and spending has gotten out of control. Mr Trump had earlier pledged to reduce government regulation and even to wipe out US$19 trillion in debt in eight years.
Added Mr Casale: "The government has taken away (the option of) being an entrepreneur. You have a government that's trying to get people to expect it to do everything for them. A government big enough to give you everything is a government big enough to take it all away."
The self-described fiscal conservative says his motto is simple: "Nobody watches your money better than you do."
"Most people, when they are young, think differently. Till you start writing out a cheque to pay your own bills, you're a liberal.
"You become a fiscal conservative when you start to pay your own bills. You look at your bottom line and you figure out, 'how can I save some and how can I manage what I have left to live on'," said the father of three grown children.
And while he says he does not agree with everything Mr Trump stands for, the registered Republican believes it will at least lead to some change.
"He's not a politician and because he's not a politician, there's hope. His narcissism is his greatest asset. He wants to puts his face on Mount Rushmore but as a country, there's nothing wrong with having someone who wants to win."