Just a day after House Republicans released their plan to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz offered low-income Americans advice on how they could afford health care—and it’s causing backlash.
On Tuesday, Chaffetz was on CNN’s “New Day” to talk with co-anchor Alisyn Camerota about affordable healthcare when he told her Americans should reconsider buying a new phone for a healthcare plan.
“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 it in their own healthcare,” Chaffetz said. “They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”
Camerota then asked for clarification, “So in other words, for lower income Americans, you’re saying this is going to require some sacrifice on their part?”
Later Tuesday morning, Chaffetz attempted to explain his remarks on Fox News. “What we’re trying to say – and maybe I didn’t say it as smoothly as I possibly could – but people need to make a conscious choice and I believe in self-reliance,” he said.
The video, posted by CNN, has already gained over 3,000 likes on Twitter, with users calling him out for his lack of healthcare knowledge.
Major media outlets have already picked up the story with Rolling Times tweeting, “No, Jason Chaffetz, paying for health care is not like buying an iPhone,” and The Washington Post tweeting that his comment “revives the ‘poverty is a choice’ argument.”
Internet users, particularly on Twitter, are poking fun at Chaffetz comments. “Hello @jasoninthehouse, my brother has a $500,000 hospital bill he’s trying to pay off. What’s the most prudent way he can sell his iPhone?” MTV writer Kaleb Horton tweeted Tuesday.
Politicians are also concerned with Chaffetz’s remarks, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who said Chaffetz’ comments are “offensive and show a lack of both understanding and compassion.”