The new Miss USA beauty pageant winner has sparked controversy by declaring that healthcare was a “privilege”, not a right.
Kara McCullough, a scientist at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, appeared to link healthcare to employment.
But the beauty queen, 25, faced a backlash on social media.
It comes as the Trump administration battles to overturn Obamacare, which aimed to extend insurance coverage to the 15% of Americans who lack it.
Earlier this month the lower chamber of the US Congress passed a new healthcare act that Democrats say will leave millions uninsured.
However, Republicans in the Senate have indicated they will cast it aside and write a new law.
Asked during Sunday’s pageant in Las Vegas whether healthcare was a privilege or a right, Miss McCullough said: “I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege.”
She added: “As a government employee, I’m granted healthcare and I see first hand that for one to have healthcare, you need to have jobs.
“We need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunity to have healthcare as well as jobs to all American citizens worldwide.”
Her remarks divided liberal-minded and conservative-minded viewers. Some were quick to criticise her stance.