Chaffetz: Americans May Have To Choose Between New Phone, Health Insurance

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Tuesday morning brushed off concerns about the access low-income Americans will have to health insurance with Republicans’ plan to replace Obamacare, arguing that Americans will just have to choose between a new phone and health insurance.

“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 that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves,” Chaffetz said on CNN’s “New Day” when pressed on insurance for low-income Americans under the latest draft legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Chaffetz made the comments as CNN’s Alisyn Camerota quizzed the congressman on coverage under Republicans’ plan to replace Obamacare. She noted that the Kaiser Foundation’s Larry Levitt said Monday that the GOP plan would likely leave more people uninsured.

In response, Chaffetz noted that the plan will give states more flexibility and said that the plan will “make sure that people have access to the quality health care that they want.”

Later, Camerota asked one final time whether the Republican plan would result in more access but less coverage.

“Well, yes. Yes, I think that’s fair,” Chaffetz replied before adding the caveat that there hasn’t yet been a full analysis of the bill.

“But we’re just now consuming this. So, more of the analysis has to happen. That’s premature,” he said. “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.”

Later on Tuesday, Chaffetz told Fox News that his comment about choosing between healthcare and a new iPhone did not come out well, but he stressed that Americans should be responsible for their own healthcare.

“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,” Chaffetz said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “And they’re going to have to make those decisions.”

Watch a clip of the interview via CNN:

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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