Following the reveal of a highly anticipated Republican Obamacare replacement plan, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) offered a line of reasoning that Republicans chided President Barack Obama for in 2014.
Tuesday morning, on CNN’s New Day, Chaffetz said that when it comes to health care, Americans will have to make a choice between a shiny new iPhone and insurance. It was an early indication that he knows the replacement plan — the American Health Care Act — doesn’t fix all the shortfalls of Obamacare, including cost.
“Americans have choices, and they’ve gotta make a choice,” Chaffetz said. “And 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 gotta make those decisions themselves.”
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
This is a similar argument to the one Obama made in 2014, in response to a Hispanic constituent’s concerns over Obamacare’s price: “If you looked at their cable bill, their telephone, their cell phone bill, it may turn out that it’s just they haven’t prioritized health care.”
At the time, Obama’s remark received backlash from conservative media for its deal-with-it tone, as in this Daily Caller article, resurfaced by Politico’s Jason Millman:
Throwback to 2014, when R media was outraged Obama said to prioritize health care over cable, cell phone bills. https://t.co/EYjymhmYlC pic.twitter.com/VAw7wZwzOy— Jason Millman (@JasonMillman) March 7, 2017
A trade-off between luxury and insurance, however, is not one President Donald Trump has accounted for in his promises to the American people. He has claimed the Obamacare replacement plan would be more affordable and insure everybody.
But as Vox’s Sarah Kliff explained, Republicans are still not completely sure how much their replacement plan is going to cost, or how many people will be covered. They have decided to move forward without a score from the Congressional Budget Office, which puts an estimate on both those factors. It’s likely the AHCA will insure fewer people and be more expensive for the poor and the sick, Kliff reports.
Chaffetz has acknowledged the possibility.
“More access, but possibly less coverage? That might be the byproduct?” CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked him.
“Well, yes. I think that’s fair,” Chaffetz said. “But we’re just now consuming this. So more of the analysis has to happen.”