Jason Chaffetz says let them eat cake

As reported in “The Hill” yesterday, “Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Tuesday said Americans may have to choose between purchasing a new iPhone or paying for health insurance.

‘You know what, Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice, the House Oversight Committee chairman told CNN Newsday one day after the House GOP unveiled its plan to replace Obamacare.

‘And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own healthcare.'”

Let me remind the Representative of what he is advocating and who is getting harmed by this change. In essence, this replacement plan takes away expanded Medicaid which harms people making less than 138% of the poverty level. It also will put further cost pressure on other lower paid individuals and older people.

These folks may have to choose between eating and healthcare. They may have to choose between rent and healthcare. So, as you think of Chaffetz’ comments, please be reminded of Marie Antoinette who is said to have uttered the line “let them eat cake,” when told the poor did not have flour to make bread.

To me, this is prima facie evidence of a group of legislators who have little understanding of the havoc they are about to wreak with their proposed replacement plan, many of whom just do not care. Let me climb to a hill top and shout these words, “do not repeal the ACA, make it better.”




26 thoughts on “Jason Chaffetz says let them eat cake

  1. The wealthy (and that includes wealthy politicians) simply assume that those who cannot afford health care are lazy and have money hidden away somewhere. Their lack of sensitivity is astonishing, but easily explained by the fact that they have their collective head up their collective ass.

    • Hugh, I am reminded of a quote from one of our homeless mothers when she hears people say ‘why don’t you get a job?’ She replied “Tell them I have a job, actually, I have two. I work long hours trying to help make ends meet.”

      Chaffetz’ comments infuriated me. He is so out of touch with what happens in the real world for real people. I think the President is worse, because he pretended to care, but has done several measures that are harmful for those who need help.


    • Raye, continuing your analogy, the ACA rug has some bumps, but if the GOP took the time to see where they are, they could work with Dems to grab the edge and pull out the bumps. It would be far cheaper and wiser than getting a new rug. Keith

  2. As a member of Congress, Rep. Chaffetz has generous tax-funded health insurance along with a salary far above 138% of the rather low official poverty level. Maybe he has to choose between buying caviar and buying gold cuff links. As U so rightly remarked, the choices faced by real people are starker.

    • Excellent point. This would not be the first time Chaffetz mispoke. He was on the wrong side of one of the greatest retorts I can recall. He was grilling the CEO of Planned Parenthood and put up a chart from the PP website showing the fall in numbers they helped. After a whisper in her ear from a colleague behind her, she told Representativd Chaffetz that not only was the chart not from the PP website, it was from an anti-PP website and it was wrong in the following areas, which she enumerated. It showed very clearly that Chaffetz had not done is homework, not unlike his IPhone comment. Keith

      • Susan, I have observed too many who have make inane comments not understanding those who don’t. DT uttered two weeks ago, “Who knew healthcare could be so complicated?” The answer is most people. Keith

  3. Dear Keith,

    There are already PACs being created to challenge Rep. Jason Chaffetz in future elections. He is serving his party 1st and his constituents, last.These guys are clueless about the life style and needs of the poor, and it is obvious, they could care less.

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, as I mentioned to Hugh and others, Chaffetz’ remarks made me furious. As you note, he remains clueless on the difficulties of regular people. He would be very surprised to learn about an attorney in Charlotte who helps people through personal bankruptcy and finds the key reason is the absence of healthcare insurance. In a letter to the editor, he noted the frequency of Republicans who visit his office who had no idea the ACA would be a good thing for them, as they listened to politicians who were not looking out for their better interests. Call me crazy, but I think that is malfeasance on the legislators part. Keith

      • Dear Keith,

        This has been one of my pet peeves.

        Many conservatives claim to be pro-life but they lack compassion for the lives of poor people. It is the republican led states that have refused to expand Medicare expansion designed to help poor working folks, have access to health care. Yet, the US has consistently been rated for years as the worst of the developed countries in infant mortality rates. And this is mostly because of poor women not having access to quality healthcare.

        Ciao, Gronda

      • Gronda, to your point, per The Commonwealth Foundation, the steamed with the worst child health outcomes are southern states that did not expand Medicaid. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: My blogging friend, Gronda Morin, is one of several bloggers who does her homework. Quite frankly, her blogs are deeper than many on main stream news organizations and have more consistent veracity. You may not agree with her point, but you need to be prepared with your arguments, because she sure is. Her views represent that of an Independent voter who used to be a Republican before the party severely changed.

    She has done a series of pieces on the ACA replacement plan discussions and the less than truthful ways the need for change has been communicated. Here is a great example.


    • Janis, arrogance is a good word. I also do not like the arrogance that the ACA must be fully discredited, so one party can replace it, without detailed anslysis. And, people are effected by this gamesmanship. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: I find it not surprising that AARP and the AMA have added their voice against the Republican replacement plan. This stuff is complicated, which was a surprise to our President. So, for Paul Ryan to try and ram this thing through before its impact is measured by the CBO and when it is panned on Day One shows incredibly poor stewardship.

  6. I seriously wonder if these people have every stepped out of their privileged circles. Honestly, it makes me furious to have these entitled, wealthy, white, men dictating their uneducated opinions to the world. Their lack of human decency is really wearing on me.

    • Lisa, it is frustrating. I believe what Gandhi said about a community’s greatness is measured by how it takes care of the less fortunate. I believe fewer people in the new GOP believe that than before. It is more an attitude of “get a job” not knowing the folks may have one or several. Keith

      • So very true. Now it’s more about making a deal. I don’t think people realize that DT has, and always will make deals to benefit himself or his ego. Businessmen do not make deals to benefit the greater good.

      • Very true, Lisa. The deal is all that matters. The fact he has not seen the numbers, puts him in the same category as the Congress committee members who voted yes. Malfeasance is the word of the day.

  7. Note to Readers: Just when I thought Jason Chaffetz’ comment is about as inane and insulting as they come, Representative Roger Marshall, (R- Kansas) enters the fray with the most condescending and asinine comment. This physician, no less, tells us the poor just don’t want healthcare. I guess the sign ups under the ACA in the exchanges and Medicaid are all high rollers. Here is a link to an article which is even more insulting than this lone comment.


  8. It would appear that people like Chaffetz, Marshall, and Shimkus are incapable of understanding situations they have never experienced, such as having to worry about where next month’s rent will come from, or how to feed their children. Perhaps as part of their job-training, it should be requisite that they and their families spend 3 months living in poverty! The other thing, though … do they forget that poor people can also vote? Do they not remember who put them in those cushy offices they occupy and who pays their salary?

    • In Charlotte, we ask leaders to go through a poverty simulation. Not all do. For our hope team volunteers, we ask them to go through an exercise called Bridges out of Poverty. These courses are good at illuminating what people go through. I agree our Congress people should go through training like this.

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