Jason Chaffetz is the very epitome of a person not to be: Sen. Warren speaks up
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said that after the GOP guts the Affordable Care Act, people struggling to get coverage will be fine if they just give up “that new iPhone that they just love.”
Republicans have been repeating a version of this lie since Reagan – that families are living the good life with government hand-outs and wasteful spending. I know that trick pretty well. It once fooled me, too.
Decades ago, when I was a young law professor, I had what I thought was a clever idea. I’d go take a look at thousands of court documents to find out why families were actually declaring bankruptcy. I was sure that my study would expose tons of people taking advantage of the system – going on shopping sprees at the mall, wasting money on giant TVs and fancy dinners, and then crying to the courts to save them from their own bad financial choices. It’s a story Jason Chaffetz would’ve loved.
Only it wasn’t true.
Two other professors and I collected piles of data on the actual families that were filing for bankruptcy. What we found was shocking. These folks weren’t lazy cheats. They were hard-working people who sacrificed for their kids and hung on to their spot in the middle class by the very tips of their fingernails – right up until they just couldn’t make it any longer. For most of them, some combination of medical problems, job losses and family break ups turned their lives upside down.
Today, every middle class family in America knows how hard it is to hang on – even with both parents working, it’s hard to make ends meet in a world where wages are flat and with housing, education, and yes, health care costs going through the roof.
We need to do more, so much more, to address the financial squeeze that’s crushing our families. But the Republican plan to gut the Affordable Care Act moves in exactly the wrong direction. If it passes, millions of these families will see their health costs skyrocket. Millions will lose coverage entirely for themselves or their kids.
And only in Republicans’ land of make-believe will everything be okay if people just buy fewer iPhones.