In full damage control mode after the release of the Republican’s replacement for Obamacare Tuesday morning, Congressman Jason Chaffetz took a break from not investigating Jeff Sessions lies to condescend to Americans on national television.
Appearing on CNN’s “New Day,” Chaffetz suggested that those worried about not being able to afford healthcare might need to simply stop purchasing IPhones instead.
“you know what? Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice. 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 healthcare!”
Oh how novel, Chaffetz! And I bet you’d suggest the starving poor might eat cake if they run out of bread as well?
This baseless argument sounds a lot like the right-wing war against food stamps and other welfare benefits. Republicans create a strawman of a welfare-dependent leech, the “welfare queen,” who spends her time (it’s always a woman) in the supermarket scooping up whole lobsters from their tanks and selecting the choicest cut of filet mignon, only to swipe her “free government money” cards at the register, laughing all the way to her over-priced car. Throw in a racialized reference to “Obamaphones” and your fictional strawman is complete.
But we have long known that the biggest welfare recipients in America are massive corporations and the wealthy. As Senator Bernie Sanders noted during the 2016 election, one of the biggest beneficiaries of welfare is corporate giant Walmart which uses millions of government dollars yearly thanks to their refusal to pay their employees anything above the base minimum wage. For their profits, taxpayers subsidize the basic needs of their employees to the tune of millions and millions yearly.
Besides the fact that a smartphone has become less of a luxury and more of a basic tool for attaining employment and engaging with the world at-large, the price of an IPhone – even a brand new one full-price, is far lower than any insurance premiums that the newly-constructed Obamacare replacement will ever cost. And if Chaffetz and his ilk were truly concerned about the plight of the poor and middle class, he might have tempered his comment with the real life facts that many prescriptions cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars – but the IPhone is the real issue here, right?
Chaffetz and the others know that their new healthcare – Republicare – is a dud. It contains none of the good “replacements” left out of Obamacare while including all of the bad parts of the previous healthcare bill. In the absence of evidence for the bill, they will spend most of their time belitting the legitimate arguments about skyrocketing prices and the loss of healthcare for 15-20 million (at least).
Don’t let Chaffetz, Ryan, and the rest convince you that asking for reasonable healthcare prices is now the sins of the poor.