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Tipsheet

Obama to Latino Town Hall: Cut Cable, Cell Phone to Afford ACA Plan

Speaking to Spanish-language media health care town hall meeting last week, President Obama dismissed concerns from a low-income man that the monthly premiums for the cheapest plans were too expensive for his family to afford. The president said the man should "prioritize health care" and cut spending on things like cable, cell phone, and other things to afford insurance.

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The host of the town hall read the following to the president:

This question here comes from a gentleman who says that, yes, he wanted Obamacare for a family of three. He says, "I make about $36,000 per year. The minimum amount is $350 per month. I think that's too much for me." That's a question from this gentleman here.

Who then responded, naturally, by blaming the consumer instead of the unaffordability of the "Affordable" Care Act plans.

I guess what I would say, if you looked at that person's budget, and you looked at their cable bill, their cell phone bill, other things that they're spending on, it may turn out that it's just they haven't prioritized health care because right now everybody is healthy.

I don't think it's likely that someone who makes around $36,000 a year is subscribed to premium cable channels and expensive cell phone coverage. Unlike the current health insurance market, affordable alternatives to expensive plans for cell phones exist. At Walmart, a consumer can purchase home telephone service for $15 a month, or could buy unlimited cell phone service for six months for only $249.99. That breaks down to about $41.50 a month for cell phone (and, by virtue of a smartphone, which can be purchased for around $50) and internet service. That's far less expensive than over $300 a month for health insurance, plus the plans with lower premiums carry comparatively high deductibles. Even if the premiums were subsidized via some sort of credit, it's still asking quite a lot of a person to pay the equivalent of a seventh of their income before the plan even kicks in. Also: the man asking the question is healthy.

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This is just another example of President Obama being condescending and out of touch.

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