Jason Chaffetz Exposed as Hypocrite After Scolding Obamacare Recipients for Buying i Phones (VIDEO)
Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, has had to eat his own words recently, after telling CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that low-income Americans should forget about buying iPhones and invest in their own healthcare, Alternet reports. Welp, it turns out he didn’t have to worry about phone expenses because well-heeled donors to his PAC (Political Action Committee) ponied up to pay the PAC’s bills.
Chaffetz Actually Believes Poor Folks Are Buying iPhones in Lieu Of Health Care
Originally, Chaffetz (R-Utah), maintained that Americans are responsible for their own health care, and that it shouldn’t be a service provided by the government.
“You know what, Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice,” he said. “And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care.”
Ha! Easy for him to say, since his well-heeled donors are footing his phone bills.
The Federal Election Commission reports that Chaffetz’s PAC phone bills are paid by the likes of Goldman Sachs and Pfizer, Inc., notes the Center for Responsive Politics. And journalist Lee Fang, who writes for The Intercept, posted a 2014 document on Twitter that showed evidence that Chaffetz’s “rich donors” paid numerous Verizon bills between May and July of that year.
Looks like Jason Chaffetz’s PAC — aka his rich donors — pay for his Verizon bill https://t.co/4wWQ1rdqWV
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) March 7, 2017
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) March 7, 2017
But since Chaffetz made this dumb statement to begin with, let’s compare a few things. Like, say, the average cost of an iPhone as compared to health care costs.
In 2015, Amit Chowdry, writing for Forbes, wrote that in the first quarter of 2014, the average price for an iPhone rose from an estimated $600 to $687 in the fourth (and final) quarter of that year. Admittedly, that would be a stretch for most low-income families. But Raw Story notes that purchasing an iPhone 7 through a wireless payment plan runs about $27 per month if it is paid for over a two-year period.
But health care premiums are a whole other story. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the average monthly premium for an individual health care plan is just over $235 per month.
As Raw Story notes:
“In other words, forsaking an iPhone 7 will save Americans enough money to pay for roughly 11 percent of what it would cost to get health insurance.”
And it should come as no surprise that for low-income folks, trying to pay monthly health care premiums is a real struggle.
CNN notes that under Obamacare, at least seven out of 10 enrollees could receive coverage for $75 or less in 2017, due to subsidies. Without this government lifesaver, the average cost of the cheapest available plan, also known as the Bronze Plan, would be $311 per month for a person who is 30 years old in 2017.
Then there are people like me, who have to deal with pre-existing conditions. In my case, I have two autoimmune diseases and one of them is rare. I’m in remission now, but in the days when things were really bad, my insurance premiums were more than $500 a month. And that was long before the days of Obamacare. I had to have experimental treatments and not all of them were covered by my insurance.
So when fools like Jason Chaffetz stupidly suggest poor people can do without their iPhones, I have to wonder if this guy understands anything about reality. Some of my medical bills would have easily bought several of these phones. And a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that only 13 percent of low-income Americans (meaning an income of less than $30,000 per year) used an iPhone that year. Additionally, one in four Americans, or 23 percent, have had to cancel or suspend their phone service because they were unable to afford it, according to another study by Pew.
Some Twitter users, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took Chaffetz to school over his clueless remarks:
Jason Chaffetz’s comments are offensive and show a lack of both understanding and compassion. https://t.co/cFGS1JXgjn
— Team Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) March 7, 2017
— Bernie 2020 (@SandersIsSexy) March 7, 2017
My broken ankle cost $117,000 so that’s around 234 iPhones @jasoninthehouse.
— roxane gay (@rgay) March 7, 2017
Now Chaffetz is trying to walk back his remarks, but he still sticks to the old tack that Americans need to better prioritize their health care spending under the Republicans supposed replacement for Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act.
“What we’re trying to say — and maybe I didn’t say it as smoothly as I possibly could (duh — emphasis mine) but people need to make a conscious choice and I believe in self reliance,” he said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.” “And they’re going to have to make these decisions.”
This is hypocrisy in the extreme. Chaffetz wants low-income people to be self-reliant, but it’s okay for him to rely on Goldman Sachs and other wealthy donors. It’s okay for him to lecture people who are probably too poor to afford iPhones when Pfizer is paying his PAC’s phone bill, but what it really means is that he doesn’t care about low-income Americans as long as he gets what he wants.
He is the Republican Party at its worst, and, in a way, its good to know he’s actually this awful. And we now know this thanks to journalist like Lee Fang and Erin Corbett.
Watch Chaffetz make his ridiculous point in the video below:
GOP Rep. Chaffetz: Americans may need to choose between “new iphone… they just love” and investing in health care https://t.co/5Hxwn2uOl5
— New Day (@NewDay) March 7, 2017
Hat tip to Raw Story, a project of the Independent Media Institute. PLEASE SUPPORT THEIR WORK!
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.