Healthcare is a highly complicated issue that has plagued both political parties in the U.S. for years, not to mention everyday Americans who struggle under huge costs.
But Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, seemed to think there was an easy solution to affording healthcare when he appeared on CNN Tuesday morning – just stop buying iPhones.
“You know what? Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice,” Chaffetz said. “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 healthcare. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”
The backlash was immediate and severe on social media. Many implied Chaffetz was out of touch with everyday Americans, saying smartphones are now a necessity for jobs and communication and also that the cost of an iPhone every two years – $649 for the standard iPhone 7 – would not cover the cost of many people’s healthcare.
Chaffetz did attempt to walk back the comments in a following appearance on Fox News, saying he knew he “didn’t say it as smoothly as I possible could.”
“But people need to make a conscious choice and I believe in self-reliance,” he said.
Annual healthcare premiums for an average family with employer-sponsored coverage cost $18,142 in 2016, with workers paying an average of $5,277 towards that cost, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Annual premiums for individual coverage was an average of $6,435, with employees paying an average of $1,207 towards that cost.