— -- Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaking to CNN on Tuesday, suggested that low-income Americans made need to make a choice between buying a new cellphone and purchasing health care.
“Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.” “And so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care.”
He continued, “They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”
Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, added that a priority is lowering the cost of health care and improving access to health insurance by giving people more choices.
“We have to be able to drive those cost curves down and provide good, quality access,” he said. “We do think that with more choice, that you will get a better product at a lower price. And that will be good for everybody on the entire spectrum of income.”
His comments on CNN were not received well by some, and he tried to clear them up in a subsequent interview with Fox News.
“Maybe I didn’t say it as smoothly as I possibly could,” Chaffetz said. “As an American, you have to make choices, so sometimes you have to make decisions in your life on where to make investments.”
House Republicans on Monday night unveiled their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation.
The new bill would get rid of the unpopular individual mandate, which requires people to purchase health insurance or face a penalty. However, under the proposed plan, insurers would be able to levy a 30 percent fee on health insurance premiums if people don’t continuously keep their coverage.
Chaffetz suggested that people look into using health savings accounts, on which the replacement plan heavily relies.
“Look, we want them to have their communication equipment too,” he said of low-income Americans. “But it’s frustrating.”