2017 Miss USA Kara McCullough of the District of Columbia poses during a press conference after the pageant. (Xinhua/REUTERS)
LOS ANGELES, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Kara McCullough, a 25-year-old scientist working for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was crowned Miss USA 2017 Sunday night in Las Vegas and caused a firestorm on social media for controversial comments about political issues during the competition.
During question phase of the Miss USA beauty pageant at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, when McCullough, who was representing the District of Columbia, was asked whether she thought that affordable health care for all U.S. Citizens was a right or a privilege, she answered that she it was privilege and people need to have a job to have health care.
"I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege," McCullough said. "As a government employee, I'm granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care you need to have jobs."
"We need to continue to cultivate this environment that we're given the opportunity to have health care as well as jobs to all American citizens worldwide," she added.
Her words ignited a heated debate on social media immediately, many people expressed their different opinions to McCulloug, while others supported her stance.
"Miss USA Kara McCullough thinks unemployed shouldn't have health care!" a user named johncecilprice posted on Twitter.
Shiela P. Kerr, another user twitted: "Miss USA has it wrong. Affordable health care should be a RIGHT."
But user named Steve defended her, saying: "Before y'all write D.C. off. Everyone has a right to care for their health, not healthcare. These are two different things."
McCullough's answer came as Congress was considering repealing and replacing key parts of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, which expanded health insurance coverage to 20 million additional Americans in the past seven years.