Yeah, there was no way I was gonna let that one go.

Last week Utah Congressperson Jason Chaffetz hauled out an old talking point to shame poor and elderly people out of expecting affordable health care (or, gasp, free health care!) by focusing on their reputed excessive consumer habits. The formula is always the same: “Maybe you wouldn’t be so poor if you spent your money more wisely.” Which usually comes from someone who has never experienced poverty or thinks the times when they were “poor” were those random days when you had to eat Ramen noodles between college classes.

If you have a microwave, you obviously can’t be poor. Or a refrigerator, or a coffee maker, or anything on the list of devices that right wing commentators feel are too luxurious for people who are “really” poor. Right. So. Compared to, say, someone starving in the streets of Portland or Mumbai, a person working 60 hours a week at minimum wage who has the means to preserve perishable goods and cook them perhaps enjoys some modicum of privilege. But once the landlord — or, really, property management company — raises the rent to exploit “market value”; or if a kid gets sick, or a car breaks down, or a traffic fine for a broken tail light you can’t afford to get fixed, or any of a number of variables throws your delicately balanced finances out-of-whack, all of your financial responsibility becomes meaningless.

All the more so when it comes to health care. This “personal responsibility” mantra from American politicians from both mainstream parties could not be more ignorant nor more callous to the real lives of people constantly living on the edge. Whether poor, or elderly, or disabled, or even young “able-bodied” middle class people who suddenly get cancer, or say any of us who are two paychecks away from homelessness — we all deserve health care. FFS.

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