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.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate