“A Republican lawmaker on Tuesday walked back his remarks earlier in the day that low-income Americans may have to prioritize purchasing health care coverage over gadgets such as iPhones under Republicans’ Obamacare replacement plan,” Eugene Scott reports for CNN. “The controversy began when House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on ‘New Day’ that he wants low-income Americans to be able to have more access to health coverage.”

“‘But access for lower income Americans doesn’t equal coverage,’ Camerota said. ‘Well, we’re getting rid of the individual mandate. We’re getting rid of those things that people said that they don’t want,’ Chaffetz replied. “Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice. So rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care,'” Scott reports. “‘They’ve got to make those decisions themselves,’ Chaffetz added.”

“‘We have to be able to lower the cost of health care,’ he said. ‘We do think that with more choices, that you will get a better product at a lower price and that will be good for everybody on the entire spectrum of income,'” Scott reports. “Later Tuesday morning, Chaffetz walked back his remarks, though he stood by his argument that Americans would need to better prioritize health care spending under the new plan. ‘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 on Fox News’ ‘America’s Newsroom.” “And they’re going to have to make those decisions.'”

“House Republicans introduced a bill Monday that would scrap Obamacare’s individual mandate, a major pillar of the law, replacing it with refundable tax credits for individuals to purchase health insurance,” Scott reports. “It would also restructure Medicaid and defund Planned Parenthood.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sounds familiar:

I guess what I would say is, if you looked at that person’s budget and you looked at their cable bill, their telephone, uh, their cellphone bill, uh, [and] other things that they’re spending on, it may turn out that it’s just they haven’t prioritized healthcare because everybody’s healthy. — President Obama, March 6, 2014

“President Donald Trump on Tuesday backed a plan by Republican lawmakers to replace the Obamacare healthcare statute,” Susan Heavey reports for Reuters. “Trump said the draft bill was open to negotiation, adding that he was working on a system to cut drug prices.”

“In a series of Twitter posts, Trump called the draft ‘our wonderful new Healthcare Bill’ and said that it was ‘now out for review and negotiation,'” Heavey reports. “Trump, who has previously called for lower drug prices, added, ‘I am working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry. Pricing for the American people will come way down!’ The president also said there would be additional action to allow people to buy health insurance across state lines ‘in phase 2 & 3 of healthcare rollout.’ Insurers have said that Obamacare does not work. Many including UnitedHealth Group Inc, Aetna Inc and Humana Inc have exited most of the states where they sold individual insurance plans created under the law.”

“The Heritage Action advocacy group, influential among conservatives, said the new bill was only a half measure. ‘Rather than accept the flawed premises of Obamacare, congressional Republicans should fully repeal the failed law and begin a genuine effort to deliver on longstanding campaign promises that create a free-market healthcare system that empowers patients and doctors,’ the group said,” Heavey reports. “The proposal preserved two popular Obamacare provisions: prohibiting insurers from refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions and allowing people up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance plans. The plan does not eliminate the healthcare exchange where people can buy coverage on the healthcare.gov website. Instead of current income-based subsidies to buy a plan, Republicans proposed tax credits, which would range from $2,000 to $4,000. Their plan also seeks to encourage people to buy insurance with the age-based credits that are capped at upper-income levels.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: BTW, we’re self-employed here at MacDailyNews and, for a single very typical example, one person here at MDN spent $1806.51 per month in 2015 and $1902.98 per month in 2016 for family health insurance (medical, dental, vision) or $44,513.88 over the last 24 months which is nearly forty-six (46) top-of-the-line iPhone 7 Plus (256GB) units. And, that’s not counting an annual $5,000 deductible, so add on ten (10) more 256GB iPhone 7 Plus units, or 56 top-of-the-line iPhones in the past two years alone.

Obviously the health insurance system in the United States of America is FUBAR and an unspeakably massive drag on the economy overall.

The basic problem is that the prices of healthcare are not defined. They are elastic. What else do you buy without seeing the price upfront? Without knowing the hourly rate upfront? Or the cost of typical procedures? You go to a garage and it says on a board the labor cost per hour. It shows the cost of an oil change, brake services, a tune-up, etc. You go into Target and the price is on the product. You can compare that price with Amazon’s and Walfart’s and then decide where to buy. Not so with medical services, tests, and procedures.

Ever wonder why a new doctor asks what your insurance plan is upfront? It’s not just to determine that you have insurance, it also determines how much you’ll pay. The prices change based on the insurance company/plan. Ever wonder why, when you have “good insurance,” the doctor’s office seems excited to hear it? Or how well you’re treated over others with lesser (read: less profitable) insurance companies/plans? They want to keep you happy. You’re a high-value patient. If you’ve ever gone from crappy insurance to good insurance or vice versa, you know what we mean.

Until the medical costs are displayed upfront and everybody is charged that rate, regardless of their plan, this mess will continue. You can’t have real competition that drives down costs until the actual costs are clearly known by all parties and uniform per person regardless of their insurance or even lack thereof.