Published: Fri, March 10, 2017
Culture | By Ray Hoffman

Jason Chaffetz: Skip That New iPhone and Buy Health Care Instead

Jason Chaffetz: Skip That New iPhone and Buy Health Care Instead

FEC records show the Friends of Jason Chaffetz committee filed more than 20 expenditures for Verizon Wireless telephone use between November 2014 and August 2016, each one usually worth hundreds of dollars. Except that what Chaffetz is talking about is not the inability to make a choice between two toys, but between taking care of you and your family's health or buying an iPhone. "We've got to be able to drive those cost curves down". The annual premium for an average American family's health insurance reached $18,142 in 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Chaffetz's iPhone argument comes as the GOP is pitching a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that would offer tax credits for individuals under certain income thresholds.

"As an adult you get to make those decisions and live by those consequences", Chaffetz said. He also agreed that low-income Americans will need to make sacrifices because they "have to lower the cost of healthcare". Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, appeared on CNN Tuesday morning.

But Paul Ryan need not fear: Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz has found the ideal message to push the American Health Care Act across the finish line: This bill provides Americans with access to choice - specifically, the choice between buying a new smartphone and paying their medical bills.

Chaffetz earlier Tuesday said voters may have to make some tough choices with their spending. Instead, it is largely the product of traditional conservative orthodoxies, which hold that consumer choice, not affordability, should be the primary objective of health-care legislation.

If you twist your knee in New York City and need an ACL fix surgery (as I did a few years ago), Health Care Blue Book says that a "fair" charge is 24 iPhones.

She noted that the Kaiser Foundation's Larry Levitt said Monday that the GOP plan would likely leave more people uninsured.

However, Chaffetz's remark echoed statements that former President Barack Obama made in December 2013 at a White House "youth summit". But one of the most subtly frustrating details is how "that new iPhone" is used as a stand-in for frivolous luxury - not a central fixture for many people's lives.

"Maybe I didn't say this 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", he said.

The two measures dismantle ObamaCare's core parts, including subsidies to help people buy coverage, Medicaid expansion, taxes and mandates requiring insurance.

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