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This Republican Says Poor People May Have To Choose Between An iPhone And Health Care

“They’ve got to make those decisions themselves,” Jason Chaffetz said of the Obamacare replacement plan.

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Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Tuesday morning said that lower-income people who may be left uninsured under the Obamacare replacement plan will have to choose between buying a new iPhone and affording health care.

In an interview on CNN, Chaffetz, who is also the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was asked if the new plan — if it became law — could leave working-class or low-income people without insurance.

“Americans have choices. And they've got to make a choice,” Chaffetz said.

“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 added that the replacement plan, dubbed the American Healthcare Act, will preserve certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act that Republicans “really do like,” such as the ban on denying coverage to people who have pre-existing conditions and allowing people to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.

As a member of Congress, Chaffetz has access to government health care. He also appears to have an Apple Watch, which would mean he likely has an iPhone.

Hours later, Chaffetz appeared on Fox News to discuss his iPhone comment, saying, "Maybe I didn't say it as smoothly as I could."

"People need to make a responsible choice and I believe in self-reliance," he said.

Fox News anchor Shannon Bream responded, "The phones are expensive. So are shoes."

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Chaffetz’s office for comment.

Chaffetz's comments were quickly ridiculed on Twitter:

Cost of a new iPhone, no contract: $670 Median per-capita healthcare costs: $10,345 https://t.co/p5pTu0s1Ju

Am I to understand that Jason Chaffetz is offering Americans healthcare for the price of an iPhone? Our savior!

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"Behold, hospital, instead of buying an iPhone I come to you with $750! Bring me ur finest healthcare!" *hands him a tylenol* "u owe us $50"

Instead of that iphone, invest in healthcare Instead of a car, invest in healthcare Instead of a refrigerator...... Instead of food....

Respectively, Rep. Chaffetz, if health care costs were ONLY the cost of a new Iphone, we wouldn't have a problem with health care costs.

Problem: Health care isn't affordable. GOP solution: Give up your iPhone to pay for it.

If you really like your existing iPhone, do you get to keep it under the Republican health care plan?

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Oy...@jasoninthehouse blames poor people for prev lack of healthcare..."they should just not buy the new iphone"

Jason Chaffetz leads by example, forgoing purchase of a new laptop so his kids can get vaccinations.

Watch Chaffetz’s comments here.

video-cdn.buzzfeed.com

Responding to Chaffetz’s comments, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price asserted during a White House press conference Tuesday that people were already making sacrifices to afford medical care.

“This is an important question because what's happening right now is that the American people are having to sacrifice in order to purchase coverage, and as I mentioned, many individuals can't afford the kind of coverage that they have right now,” he said.

Increasing health care options for people, inciting competition between companies, and returning health care regulation to the state level was how Republicans would eventually drive down insurance costs, Price added.

Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tamerra Griffin at tamerra.griffin@buzzfeed.com.

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