Lee, Hatch speak to new health care bill, Chaffetz catches flack for iPhone comment

FIle photo: House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, standing with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., right, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, speaks during a news conference on the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 7, 2017 | AP Photo/Susan Walsh, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – “Obamacare Lite.” “Obamacare 2.0.” “RyanCare.” Those are a few of the names being given to the American Health Care Act by detractors, namely conservative ones.

While the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act rolled out by congressional Republicans is supported by President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, other Republicans, like Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee, are not so happy with it.

Read more: Trump praises health care bill, but conservatives skeptical

We’re going to do something that’s great and I’m proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives,” Trump declared at the White House as he met Tuesday with the House GOP vote-counting team. “We’re going to take action. There’s going to be no slowing down. There’s going to be no waiting and no more excuses by anybody.”

The new GOP plan would repeal the current law’s unpopular fines on people who don’t carry health insurance. It also would replace income-based subsidies, which the law provides to help millions of Americans pay premiums, with age-based tax credits that may be skimpier for people with low incomes. Those payments would phase out for higher-earning people.

The legislation also would limit future federal funding for Medicaid, which covers low-income people, about one in five Americans. And it would loosen rules that Obama’s law imposed for health plans directly purchased by individuals.

Among those opposed to the Republican health care overhaul is Sen. Mike Lee who posted his opinion of it over Facebook Tuesday:

The American Health Care Act is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for. It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction.

We promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington. This bill does not do that. We don’t know how many people would use this new tax credit, we don’t know how much it will cost, and we don’t know if this bill will make health care more affordable for Americans.

This is exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for and it is not what we promised the American people.

Let’s fulfill our Obamacare repeal promise immediately and then take our time and do reform right. Let’s pass the 2015 repeal bill that Republicans in both houses of Congress voted for and sent to the White House just 15 months ago.

Once Obamacare has been properly sent to the dustbin of history then we can begin a deliberative, open, and honest process to reform our nation’s health care system.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, on the other hand, called the American Health Care Act an improvement over the current system, according to KSL.com.

Even in its early stages, this bill represents a significant improvement over Obamacare. I welcome hearing meaningful feedback on the health policy proposals in this plan, but I also encourage my colleagues to refrain from final judgments,” Hatch said.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz said that the GOP’s long-awaited health care plan may lead people to put aside money for their health care instead of “getting that new iPhone.”

That is his advice to consumers who are concerned about the changes to the health care system that may be on the way under the House Republican’s proposed health care plan.

The plan puts more emphasis on health savings accounts at the expense of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which offers subsidies of insurance premiums to qualified applicants.

To make his point, on CNN’s “New Day,” Chaffetz advised consumers that instead of buying a new phone “maybe they should invest in their own health care.”

Chaffetz told Fox News later on in the day that he may not have said things as “smoothly” as he meant.

“Well, what we’re trying to say, and maybe I didn’t say it as smoothly as I possibly could, but people need to make a conscious choice and I believe in self-reliance,” he said.

As may be expected, Chafftz’s comment didn’t escape scrutiny.

Peter Corroon, Utah Democratic Party Chairman called Chaffetz’s words “flippant” in a statement issued Wednesday:

Congressman Chaffetz’s comments this morning on CNN illustrate the ‘do as we say, not as we do’ culture of the GOP. While taking a paycheck and healthcare from taxpayers, he’s telling us, the American People, we need to sacrifice. Chaffetz himself has no choice to make.

Donors from his campaign pay for his iPhone, and we pay for his healthcare. Trumpcare is a death sentence for many Americans, and the flippant comments made today shows that the priority of the GOP is to Make America Sick Again.

Associated Press reporters Erica Werner and Alan Fram contributed to this article.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • anybody home March 8, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Chaffetz who is rapidly making his name and building a legacy as Utah’s favorite jacka$$ was ripped by Stephen Colbert for the iPhone advice. Colbert pointed out, correctly, that the cost of an iPhone doesn’t begin to compare to the cost of health insurance for a family or even an individual. Chaffetz should learn to keep his gun and his mouth in the holster instead of following Trump’s lead and firing from the hip: Ready, fire, aim.

    • desertgirl March 8, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Sometimes it difficult to grasp the dense thinking of so many. The point is many people spend lot of bucks on unnecessary items and complain they can’t pay their bills or themselves without nanny government or taking from others not as wasteful and wise. If you can’t afford your insurance policies you sure as hell don’t need overpriced expensive phone (along with the high monthly bill), new cars and other such things. So folk like you, anybody home, react to Colbert and other celebrity manipulators with remarks that have nothing to do with nothing; only to the ignorant and lazy does it make sense. Chaffetz is correct; let go of the IPhone when you can’t pay for the necessities. (That’s right, IPhones are not a necessity)

    • Henry March 8, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      “I guess what I would say is if you looked at that person’s budget and you looked at their cable bill, their telephone … cell phone bill, other things that they’re spending on, it may turn out that they just haven’t prioritized health care…….Nobody actually wants to spend money on health insurance until they get sick.”

      – Barack Obama, at a March 12, 2014 town hall meeting, responding to a man who said he still couldn’t afford insurance under Obamacare.


    • Badshitzoo March 9, 2017 at 1:29 am

      Personally, I’d like to see Mr. Chaffetz …, and wait until his iPhone rings!
      Ed. ellipsis.

  • Brian March 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    This obamacare replacement is a steaming pile. I firmly believe in conservative values, conservative principles, and capitalism. I sure wish the GOP did! That’s why I’m no longer a republican. All my R friends were just sure we were saved with Trump and the (R)’s in charge. Yet here we are. Different day, different party, same garbage.

  • comments March 8, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Let’s get Orrin into a nursing home and flush chaffetz down the toilet. I realize these are mormons, and therefore can do no wrong, but don’t we deserve something better? Or at least something fresh? LOL

  • .... March 8, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Well gee Bob after you crawl out of the toilet maybe you could write a letter to your reelected Republican Mormon Governor I’m sure he cares what you think

  • Common Sense March 9, 2017 at 7:15 am

    The point is even after you pay your premiums you still haven’t paid for any health coverage. If you go to the doctor that is additional. If you don’t go to the Doctor you were just forced to pay a years worth of premiums just in case you have something catastrophic happen. In most cases the cost of the annual premium is 10% or more of that persons annual income. That is a significant chunk of money people are working for “just in case” something happens. This is why it is NOT affordable but we have been scared into purchasing it just in case because we don’t want that $30,000 hospital bill but 10 years worth of premiums is equal to that $30,000 hospital bill. It would of made a nice down payment. Oh well…

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