Chaffetz: Poor May Have to Choose Health Care or iPhone

'Maybe rather than getting that new iPhone ... they should invest it in their health care'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2017 12:22 PM CST

House Republicans' replacement for ObamaCare is taking heat from the left and the right, and one of their own is now getting roasted over his attempt at defending the nascent plan, reports Politico. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, appeared on CNN Tuesday morning. When asked how the plan would impact lower-income Americans, he had this to say:

  • "We’re getting rid of the individual mandate. We’re getting rid of those things that people said that they don’t want. And you know what? Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice and so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves."

The suggestion that the poor will now have to choose between cell phones and health care elicited howls on the left (typical example, via Jezebel: "Man Whose Insurance Is Funded By Taxpayers Says Poor People Should Give Up iPhones for Healthcare"), and even Indiana Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon said on the same show that Chaffetz's remarks were "unwarranted at this time. We don't want people to make choices in their life having to choose health care and leaving out other parts of their life that everyone else enjoys." Chaffetz quickly tried to walk his comments back, reports CNN: "What we're trying to say—and maybe I didn't say it as smoothly as I possibly could—but people need to make a conscious choice and I believe in self-reliance. And they're going to have to make those decisions." (More Jason Chaffetz stories.)

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