Jason Chaffetz Tells Poor Americans to Choose Between iPhones and Health Care

The condescension was palpable.


While promoting the details of a new Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) advised low-income Americans to resist purchasing new iPhones and prioritize purchasing health care coverage instead. The remarks came as Chaffetz defended the plan’s elimination of the individual mandate, which Obamacare proponents have long maintained is crucial to keeping health care costs down for the people who need it the most.

“Americans have choices—and they’ve got to make a choice,” Chaffetz said during an appearance on CNN’s New Day on Tuesday morning. “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,” he continued.

Chaffetz’s recommendation on Tuesday is consistent with the long-held belief among many conservatives that poor people don’t manage their money well and therefore require strict restrictions on what they can buy using government food aid, for example. Such views persist despite evidence that poor people are no more likely to buy the groceries that conservatives want to limit, such as soda and other sugary foods, than people who don’t receive federal aid.

Chaffetz later appeared to walk back his iPhone comment, telling Fox News it did not come out as “smoothly” as he intended.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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