What Rep. Jason Chaffetz Gets Wrong About Low Income Americans, Healthcare, and iPhones

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After the Republican replacement for Obamacare was unveiled, Rep. Jason Chaffetz proposed a supplementary plan for low-income Americans.

His solution? Don’t buy that iPhone if you need money to pay for healthcare.

The American Health Care Act, or so-called Trumpcare, was unveiled on Monday. In short, it offers less financial assistance to low-income Americans than the Affordable Care Act. This means that many Americans could very well lose the life-saving healthcare coverage that is available for them today.

Chaffetz, Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, essentially said on Tuesday in an appearance on CNN that Americans that may struggle to foot the bill for their healthcare coverage need to prioritize — by making the choice to “invest in healthcare.”

“Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice. So rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”

This is a concept that Chaffetz is likely entirely separated from considering his net worth of $320,000 in 2014. While this may be less than his counterparts in Congress, this is still well above the median income for the Average American — which was $56,500 in 2015. Chaffetz also has the privilege of enjoying comprehensive healthcare benefits as a member of Congress. What he sees as a luxury for the poor is actually a necessity for most Americans in this day and age.

Furthermore, healthcare coverage doesn’t cost anywhere near the same amount as an iPhone. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the average cost of annual healthcare premiums for the average family was $18,142 in 2016. Abstaining from purchasing a smartphone won’t necessarily mean that poor Americans will be able to pay for healthcare coverage. In fact, scraping together pennies when you’re already struggling to get by very well may not even measure up to a fraction of the cost of healthcare.

When Chaffetz was prompted by CNN host Alisyn Camerota about whether or not Americans might have more healthcare access, rather than coverage, under the Republican’s new plan, Chaffetz provided a vague response, but did essentially agree that Camerota was correct.

“Well, yes. I think that’s fair. We just saw the bill as of yesterday. We’re just starting to consume it. We will have to look at how that analysis moves forward.”

While Trump touted far and wide that the Republican replacement to the ACA would be better, many doubted from the start that congressional Republicans would be able to construct such a plan. Now that the replacement bill has been revealed, it seems that their suspicions were correct. While the most vulnerable groups of Americans will only continue to struggle to maintain basic healthcare coverage, wealthy individuals only stand to gain from the proposed ACA replacement.

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.

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