The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.
When he first ran for a Utah congressional seat, Jason Chaffetz was relatively unknown, associated more with the BYU football team than as a water-carrying Republican. He beat the odds and won the seat, but few thought the former Democrat would trot onto the national stage as a controversial flame-thrower.
However, during his short tenure in Washington, D.C., he has gained more notoriety than Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and Mia Love combined. Some see him as an outspoken conservative warrior; others view him as an over-exposed punk.
His committee chairmanship gives him an opportunity to make headlines. One minute he’s seething over Hillary’s emails; the next moment he’s defending his refusal to investigate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia; then he takes a roundhouse punch at Washington, D.C. residents declaring that he will overturn their local decisions on such topics as marijuana and physician-assisted suicide.
You don’t see comedian Rosie O’Donnell writing checks to oust Utah’s other three congressmen. Neither do you see a fundraising campaign in the nation’s capital geared to bouncing any of the other three from office.
Only Chaffetz is in the crosshairs—and he became even a bigger target last week when he suggested that poor people having difficulty affording insurance under a GOP health plan should “suck it up” and not purchase an iPhone.
The comment drew immediate derision from editorial writers and, more famously, among late night television hosts. Conan O’Brien, for instance, filmed a segment showing that poor people could use their iPhone to ask Siri if their tumor was malignant and use ear buds to suture wounds.
Jason was again placed in the spotlight: Here was a young dude from Utah who would rather make jokes or spout snarky quips about poor people than try to resolve and understand their challenges.
I understand what Chaffetz was saying. People need to be held accountable. If a young man is having trouble buying food, he probably should not be buying an expensive text message plan for his cell phone. If a mother is scrimping on buying diapers for a baby, she should forego the liquor store or day spa.
The problem, however, is that Jason’s line about the iPhone doesn’t consider the complex nature of health care in the United States. Yes, the Affordable Care Act was passed too quickly and obviously has serious holes. But the Republican plan touted by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Utah’s congressional team could lock the hospital doors for millions of poor and middle-class men and women. In fact, Speaker Ryan encouraged Republicans to vote for it before the Congressional Budget Office even explained how much the plan would cost!
None of us are that knowledgeable about how the new health care plan could impact us individually or society as a whole. However, I have to sit up and take notice when the American Medical Association and other health-oriented groups claim the proposal would take away insurance from up to 10 million of my fellow citizens, and increase the cost of medical care.
I wish Jason Chaffetz would spend time taking a real-world look at the country’s health care needs. That’s called governing, not headline-making.