The fate of the free world hangs with France

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.

franc

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.

#FrenchFriesAlways

Have a good weekend everybody. I’m taking a trip down south and will return Tuesday.

Until then, May the fourth be with you.

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Jimmy Kimmel is the most human late show host on TV

Anybody who watches Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show knows that the man cries a lot.

He teared up when discussing the death of Cecil the Lion two years ago; he couldn’t hold it back when he mourned the passing of legendary comic Don Rickles late last month; and most recently, and certainly understandably, he openly wept when revealing on his show that his son was born with a heart defect that required life-saving emergency surgery.

Seeing somebody express raw emotion and vulnerability always gives you greater insight into who they are as a human being.

What makes us so unique to any other species is our ability to emote and to experience real sorrow. It’s what makes life tragic and glorious at the same time.

So to see Jimmy Kimmel have a moment of pure emotion like that only adds to his appeal. Especially since his story is so undeniably sympathetic. Any child being born with a heart defect is saddening.

Jimmy Kimmel family.png

But what’s made Kimmel’s monologue so particularly memorable was his inclusion of politics. While he didn’t directly malign any one or group in particular, he bemoaned the fact that those with preexisting medical conditions who were afforded protection against healthcare discrimination under Obamacare may lose those protections under a new Republican plan.

And he pointed to his newborn son as a living and breathing example of this. “If your baby is going to die … it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, we all agree on,’ he said to raucous applause.

Kimmel has received mostly support from his TV colleagues and the general public. But of course, there are those few — like this former Republican Senator — who just can’t bring it upon themselves to look past politics and see the human element.

Obamacare may be repealed as soon as Thursday. And Kimmel is right about something: we need to stop kicking this issue around like it’s a political football. These are people’s lives at stake. It’s not a game. It’s not about politics.

But what makes the topic of healthcare so dicey is one simple fact: we are selfish.

And there’s nothing wrong with being selfish. To make it in this world, you need to look out for yourself and your best interests.

The reason people don’t like Obamacare is because premiums and their deductibles are high. They’re healthy and yet they’re paying an exorbitant amount for insurance because they’re being forced to by Obamacare’s mandate.

But the subtext to that statement is you don’t want to contribute your share to cut the costs for sick people.

I understand that money is hard to come by. Very few of us make enough to support the life that we wish to live.

But that is the reality of why healthcare is such a polarizing issue in our country at this moment.

At some point, you have to ask yourself: Are you willing to make a few sacrifices to prop up your fellow Americans, and fellow humans.?

Jimmy Kimmel’s little boy was saved.

Will the next one be?

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.