PHARISEE, UTAH — Back in February, members of Congress flew back to their home districts to meet with their constituents. Headlines were made all over the country when congressional Republicans went home to find angry voters demanding they offer up a real healthcare solution if they plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Yesterday, the Republicans unveiled that plan to much fanfare, but also much doubt and skepticism from across the political spectrum.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) went home as well and reportedly had an eye opening experience, which some are speculating may have had an influence on his rhetoric this morning. Chaffetz, while being interviewed on CNN today, was defending the GOP’s Obamacare replacement program. While doing so, Mr. Chaffetz said that poorer families will have to choose between a new iPhone and health insurance now. It seemed like an insensitive thing to say, especially since health insurance premiums for a year are far, far more expensive than the most expensive iPhone available, but some think he may have been influenced by his trip home last month.
“So I went back home,” Chaffetz was recently overheard telling staffers, “and I had lunch with my friend Bob. I’ve known Bob forever, and he was on Obamacare. Bob’s got cancer now, and he’s worried about whether his rates will skyrocket on him if we dismantle Obamacare. I told him he might just have to choose between things like the food he wants and his cancer treatments.”
Chaffetz said that seemed to make his friend Bob angry “for some reason” he couldn’t figure out. So Chaffetz and Bob went to see Bob’s oncologist. Chaffetz asked if Bob could treat his cancer in a most unusual, peculiar way.
“Hey, doc,” Chaffetz told his staffers he said, “can Bob’s cancer be treated with an iPhone? He seems to be worried that he won’t be able to afford treatment soon. But I had an idea, and wanted to run it by you. I think if Bob can just swallow his iPhone and take care of two birds with one stone, then he does’t really have to choose between healthcare and a phone. Know what I mean?”
Rep. Chaffetz says Bob’s doctor asked him if he was feeling alright. The doctor said such questions imply someone is very sick, somewhere, maybe just in the head. Chaffetz says he laughed hysterically.
“Oh, no, I’m fine, doc. I have a healthcare plan that taxpayers pay for,” Chaffetz said ,”It’s really, frankly, better than most of their plans. No, I’m asking for my friend Bob here. Can we treat his cancer with an iPhone?”
The doctor simply shook his head “no.”
“Welp, sorry Bob, you’re just going to have to make that sacrifice then, and have an older phone,” Chaffetz said, “but hey, at least you know if you just go without a new phone you can completely pay for your cancer treatment and insurance.”
Now, the doctor and Bob laughed hysterically. Chaffetz was confused.
“Sir,” the doctor said, “a new iPhone costs, what, a grand or so with taxes and fees? Do you have any idea how much one chemotherapy treatment costs? I mean, it might cost a lot less if our government negotiated in bulk, leveraging its amazing purchasing power. But the truth is that iPhones and healthcare are completely unrelated. Besides, most people finance their phones for like twenty bucks a month, so there’s no way that’s making the difference between affording a policy that costs hundreds and not affording it. Frankly, sir, it’s grossly insulting that you’d even make this kind of comparison as if a human being’s life is some kind of fucking commodity to be bought and sold for the lowest price possible. I thought you were fucking pro-life?”
Chaffetz just blinked and stared.
“Okay, so you’re saying he has to choose between a phone and health insurance,” Chaffetz asked rhetorically, “cool, got it. Thanks Doc! That’s very helpful.”
Bob died yesterday.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.