The good, the bad and the ugly Republican healthcare bill

As most of you know, Republican lawmakers finally took the first step in fulfilling their near decade-long promise to repeal and replace Obamacare last week by introducing their own alternative legislation, the American Health Care Act, which would reshape healthcare access throughout the country.

Most notably, the bill would eliminate the Obamacare mandate that all Americans have healthcare, or pay a penalty.

The mandate – while unpopular – has been repeatedly deemed necessary by economists and health care experts, noting that for healthcare to actually be affordable, a bounty of young, healthy people needed to be buying insurance to offset the costs of all the sick people, whom, historically, pay the highest prices for their extensive health coverage needs, and thus are the most expensive to insure.

The national mood towards Obamacare has changed drastically since its implementation several years ago, holding true to the adage — you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone.

An awakening has suddenly blossomed among the public of the imminent consequences of repealing Obamacare: the loss of health coverage for tens of millions of Americans who gained eligibility under the law, thanks to Medicaid expansion and the qualification that young adults can stay on their parents’ plan up to age 27, in addition to the aforementioned mandate.

Paul Ryan AHCA

As a result, thousands of constituents have stormed their representatives’ offices to demand they vote against an Obamacare repeal, among many other things. Survivors of various health issues have publicly stated that they wouldn’t be alive today without Obamacare.

And yet, Republicans, pressed on, culminating with this new bill introduced last week. But despite the party’s tough rhetoric, the bill contains some remarkable concessions, maintaining many provisions of Obamacare – a clear testament to the fact that America is now too deep in healthcare reform to turn back now.

Following its introduction, Donald Trump lauded the bill as the fulfillment of his campaign promise to replace Obamacare, while throwing continuous jabs at the “imploding” state of his predecessor’s signature legislative accomplishment.

Barely minutes later, conservative Republican lawmakers held a press conference to denounce the bill, calling it Obamacare 2.0, and saying it doesn’t accomplish their desire of a full, categorical repeal.

And moderate Republicans from swing states are concerned that their constituents will turn against them if they endorse the bill.

Democrats, naturally, are united against the bill. As are nearly every professional medical agency.

US President Barack Obama gives a thumbs

Upon further analysis of the bill, it became apparent that the AHCA is basically a major tax cut for wealthy Americans disguised as a healthcare bill.

And just when support was sinking lower and lower, the Congressional Budget Office – which the White House was preemptively attacking – announced on Monday that the AHCA would result in the loss of health care coverage for approximately 24 million people.

In other words, it’s dead on arrival.

There’s a reason why presidents dating back to the early 1900s have tried, and failed, to implement health care reform – because it’s freaking hard. Obama got it done. It was not without criticism, but as a result, millions more people have health insurance than before he was in office.

Republicans talked themselves into this mess by promising to repeal Obamacare, and making it seem like it would be a piece of cake. They raised expectations by passing dozens of bills to repeal Obamacare over the last several years that were immediately vetoed by Obama.

And now, in control of the House, Senate and presidency, they have the opportunity to do it, and they’re realizing just how hard it is.

It’s ironic, but Obamacare may end up being the downfall of the Republican Party under Donald Trump.

But pay attention to what happens. It’s easy to observe from the sidelines, and even cheer that you are no longer penalized for failing to purchase health insurance if this bill somehow passes.

But one day, if you get sick, it could be your life that’s on the line … and what’s happening now was the signature moment that impacted that care that you will one day receive.

If you won’t care for the sick people, then maybe you’ll at least care about future sick you.

Don’t make future sick you want to punch young healthy you in the face.

The world reacts to Trump, Jon Stewart’s epic return and a major Grammy snub

The main reason I wanted to wait a day to talk about Donald Trump’s senseless proclamation he made towards Muslims on Monday was to give the world time to digest it.

I was hopeful that decency and sanity would prevail.

And thankfully, it did.

The world has not lost its mind. At least not yet. Not only did fellow Republicans condemn his proposal — including new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who previously had said he would not comment on the presidential race — but people across the world came out to voice their disapproval.

trump_voldemortThe mayor of St. Petersburg in Florida facetiously said he was “barring Donald Trump” from entering his city until all Trumps are proven to not be dangerous.

But the retort of the day went to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who said, “How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad.”

As someone who spent much of his childhood — and admittedly, some of his young adulthood — immersed in the Harry Potter universe, this was especially awesome for me.

But that’s that. It’s not even worth dignifying such bigotry with any more commentary.

Especially when yesterday brought us other news. The Daily Show welcomed back a familiar face, as Jon Stewart returned as a guest to publicly shame the Republican lawmakers who are holding up the renewal of the Zadroga Act, which provides treatment for those who were among the first responders on Sept. 11, 2001, a large chunk of whom are dying now from the toxic fumes they inhaled that day.

It was a really powerful piece and one definitely worth watching. And it Jon Stewart Trevor Noahwas a stark reminder of how much our world needs Jon Stewart. Especially now.

For years, he was the voice of reason who entertained and comforted us every night at 11 p.m. And boy, we could really use some common sense right now.

It was Stewart who championed the passage of the bill five years ago when he had four 9-11 responders on his show. On Monday night, only one of those four were able to return. The other two were too ill, and the third one is dead.

It’s not easy to be a half-humorist half-political commentator who actually makes a difference in the world. With this blog, I make a difference in the one person’s life who accidentally stumbles across this site via a Google search.

And you know what? I’ll take it.

Last, nominations were revealed on Monday for the 57th Grammy Awards, which will take place Feb. 8. There were no major surprises; Taylor Swift’s 1989 is up for Album of the Year, which will naturally anger some people.

sufjan-stevens-10

And for those wondering, Adele was not eligible, hence her absence from the nominees list. But she’ll probably kill it in 2017.

But I must express my extreme displeasure with one egregious snub: Sufjan Stevens. His album, Carrie and Lowell, is without a doubt among the best of the year. And he got nothing.

Not many people are capable of delivering lyrics in such a haunting, soul-tickling manner like he can.

It’s a shame he wasn’t recognized on a national level, and it also deprives the general public from learning about a very talented artist.

Oh well. Sufjan, I see you. And you may never win music’s biggest prize, but, if it’s any consolation, allow me to bestow you with a WeinGrammy®.

For reference, it’s somewhere between a Video Music Award and a Kid’s Choice Award, and about equivalent in self-validation to a Tinder match.