As Republican members of Congress promote a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) Tuesday had a novel idea for how Americans should pay for health insurance in a post Obamacare world: give up their cellphones. In an interview on CNN, Chaffetz was asked about how simply having access to coverage was different than the mandated coverage required under the ACA, colloquially called Obamacare.
"Access for lower income Americans doesn't equal coverage," host Alisyn Camerota said.
"Well, we're getting rid of the individual mandate. We're getting rid of those things that people said they don't want," Chaffetz said. "And you know what, Americans have choices. And they've got to make a choice. 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. They've got to make those decisions themselves."
The conversation stemmed from the fact that under the new plan put forth by the GOP, known as the American Healthcare Act, fewer Americans would be covered.
"With Medicaid reductions and smaller tax credits, this bill would clearly result in fewer people insured than under the ACA," said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, to CNN Money. "The House GOP proposal seeks to reduce what the federal government spends on health care, and that inevitably means more people uninsured."
The plan would get rid of penalties for those who go uninsured, replace subsidies with tax credits and defund Planned Parenthood. The GOP has pushed competition as the driving force that would help Americans land insurance.
"The American Healthcare Act is a plan to drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance," Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in a statement.