Republican Congressman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced this month that he wouldn’t seek re-election to his position, and may not even finish his current term despite being sent back by his constituents just last fall.
Now, Chaffetz, 50, will be leaving Congress for 3-4 weeks, according to Politico, for a surgery on his leg. Chaffetz posted a picture of an x-ray to his Instagram account on Wednesday night, saying that surgery was necessary in the immediate future to avoid a potentially life-threatening infection.
Almost 12 years ago, I shattered several bones in my foot which required 14 screws and a metal plate to repair. Yes, I wish I could say I was cliff diving in Mexico but the truth is I fell off a ladder while repairing something in my garage. The University of Utah doctors now recommend immediate surgery to remove all the hardware or I could be at risk for serious infection. My recovery is expected to take three to four weeks. I’m sorry to miss the important work we are doing in Washington. This is not an opportune time to be away but medical emergencies are never convenient. I appreciate my constituent’s patience and understanding as I take time to recover.
His departure will likely mean that Chaffetz will miss a key vote that would repeal and replace Obamacare. The added irony? Chaffetz, as a member of Congress, is entitled to a Gold Coverage plan on the marketplace. So, while he remains a member of Congress, he’ll receive coverage with low payments for his procedure. Then, if he likes, he can quit Congress without worrying about finding private coverage.
Chaffetz has long been a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. In the debate earlier this year on a proposal made by President Donald Trump to repeal the law, Chaffetz defended his position that would result in 24 million Americans losing their coverage. When asked what low-income Americans should do to help pay for their bills if the repeal went through, Chaffetz replied that “Maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they ought to go invest in their own health care.”
Forbes estimates that the average yearly healthcare costs for a family of four is around $25,000. The latest iPhone costs around $650.
For comparison, foot surgery like what Chaffetz is slated to have can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $17,000, according to costhelper.com. That’s more than 26 iPhones, a number of devices Chaffetz likely doesn’t own.
Fortunately for Chaffetz, his Obamacare plan will pay for most of the costs associated with his health bill. But if Chaffetz had his way, that plan wouldn’t be available to him or to millions of Americans across the country.