Congressional Republicans took a major step today towards repealing and replacing Obamacare, with an amended American Healthcare Act bill narrowing passing the House of Representatives.
Next the bill will be sent to the Senate, where there is much uncertainty as to how it will be received. Meaning the bill is still far from becoming a law, but stands just one step away.
Public reaction to this development will be strong. As I expressed yesterday, people’s lives hang in the balance. While the legislation doesn’t abandon those with pre-existing medical conditions – one of the last additions, in fact, was to tack on $8 billion in state aid for that very reason – but it does appear to be dismantling some of the safeguards that protected them.
This is extremely important and deserved to be the focus of national conversation. And with Congress now heading home for an 11-day recess to face their constituents, that is bound to happen. And something tells me it is not always going to be civil.
We’re in an era now where constituents have become so passionate that they are finally holding their representatives accountable. Gone are the days where elected officials can coast their way through Washington and rarely hear a peep except from the occasional agitator. People are now holding their representatives accountable, and the result is a massive display of civic participation in action.
So let’s see what happens over the next week and a half.
Until then, we have another major event to keep our eyes on: the French presidential election on Sunday.
By all accounts, centrist Emmanuel Macron should roll to victory, as all parties are expected to unite against his far-right adversary, Marine Le Pen.
*Cue Brexit will never happen*
*Cue Trump has no chance*
Consider me paranoid to believe any predictions until the actual results are in.
But of all the populists who are roiling through Europe, Marine Le Pen is among the most dangerous. And that’s not because her xenophobic and discriminatory views are any worse than some other firebrands that have popped up in countries like the Netherlands and Austria, but because Le Pen is savvy enough to soften her views and actually put them into action.
A Le Pen-led France would completely change the direction of France, and thus the European Union, the entire European continent, and the world. It would embolden those on the far-right and reinforce a sense of nativism worldwide.
The French have a choice to do something that Britons and Americans failed to do.
Macron and Le Pen met for their first and only presidential debate on Wednesday night, and the result was an American-like shouting match that a civilized European nation is accustomed to. It exemplified the divisiveness that is taking place in that country.
But it all ends Sunday. Let’s see what happens. If the election turns out like we hoped, we can all celebrate by eating French fries.
On second thought, we can all eat French fries no matter what.
Have a good weekend everybody. I’m taking a trip down south and will return Tuesday.
Until then, May the fourth be with you.