Jason Chaffetz
The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform committee, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). REUTERS/Gary Cameron

A Republican lawmaker has suggested Americans will have to choose between buying iPhone or having healthcare coverage.

House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz appeared to suggest people's financial burden would be lifted if they just avoided buying themselves pricey gadgets.

Chaffetz told CNN's New Day: "You know what, Americans have choices. And they've got to make a choice.

"And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own healthcare."

His comments came the day after the GOP launched its new healthcare bill intended to replace Obamacare, which US President Donald Trump has long campaigned to scrap.

The new healthcare bill reportedly keeps popular elements of the Obama administration's plan - including provisions allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance until they are 26 and ensuring that insurers cannot deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

But, in more conservative measures, the Washington Post reported that the legislation takes aim at Planned Parenthood, a bête noire of anti-abortion groups.

Chaffetz later said in an interview with Fox News that his comments may not have come across as intended.

He told the TV station: "What we're trying to say, and maybe I didn't say as smoothly as I possibly could, but people need to make a conscious choice, and I believe in self-reliance.

"And they're going to have to make those decisions. We want people to have access to an affordable healthcare product."