Sorry Politicians, We Can’t Trade Our iPhones for Affordable Healthcare
I don’t know how anyone could think giving up my iPhone means I would suddenly find affordable healthcare.
But according to Utah Republican Representative Jeff Chaffetz, that’s the sacrifice low-income Americans should be making.
In a CNN interview, he said:
“Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice. So maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love, and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”
But since it only cost me a $26 down payment at T-Mobile to get the iPhone 7, I’m going to have to disagree.
It’s crazy because iPhones currently cost between $549 and $769, based on the model and amount of storage. Either through Apple or cellphone providers, these prices can be split into monthly payments that cost around $25 to $40. So add a cell phone plan that can run as cheap as $10 a month and he’s telling you that sacrificing $35-$50 a month will give you access to healthcare, which just isn’t true.
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, workers paid $5,277 per year on average toward the cost of their coverage in 2016 — which is a lot more than $50 or even $100 a month.
Not to mention smartphones are pretty much a necessity in American life. Not only are they our main communication tool, but they help our lives and livelihoods in other ways.
Smartphones allow people to run entire businesses with features to scan PDFs or charge credit cards. Now that workplace communication has expanded to require smartphones in some instances (for apps like Slack or Group Me), owning a capable phone isn’t a luxury, it’s a requirement.
Pew Research Center reported that for one in ten Americans, smartphones are the only tool they use to access the internet. Meaning that’s the only way they access college course work, apply for employment, or communicate with their customers or employers.
Despite the fact that they have become essential, smartphones (and iPhones specifically) are often positioned as wealth indicators. It’s easier to attack low-income Americans for owning a certain cell phone than it is to accept that healthcare needs to be more affordable. It’s a deflection.
Don’t feel bad because you own an iPhone in a culture that necessitates Smartphones, demand that healthcare be just as affordable.