The iPhone is not a luxury good

This morning, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) suggested that the Republicans’ proposed Affordable Care Act replacement would require Americans to “make a choice” in order to pay for health care. “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 health care,” he told CNN. There are a lot of things wrong with this statement, including the fact that average health care spending per capita is thousands, not hundreds, of dollars annually. But one of the most subtly frustrating details is how “that new iPhone” is used as a stand-in for frivolous luxury — not a central fixture for many people’s lives.

Chaffetz is the latest of many people to imply that…

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