As a child I learned the story of, “Chicken Little”. He was a little chick who craved attention. One day it started raining and he decided that he would gain the attention of all the animals in the barn-yard by telling them, “The Sky Is Falling.” The animals believed him, because that’s what dumb animals do. The routine of the barn-yard was replaced by fear and panic.
All of this was caused because a little chick, who craved attention, decided to start screaming about something without knowing all of the facts first.
Apparently, that is what happened while my wife and I were out of the country last week.
We returned on Saturday and in the past two days I have had multiple questions about what the passing of the American Health Care Act by the House of Representatives means.
My goal, with these updates, is to cut through the misinformation we get by politicians and press. Hopefully, when you hear them tell you, “The sky is falling” you will not get scared and panic. However, I understand that I can be a little wordy.
I apologize up front but hope that you will take the time to read this entire explanation of what has happened to health insurance in the United States as of May 8, 2017.
The fact is that the law has NOT been changed. Today things are exactly the way they were when Barack Obama was president with a few exceptions.
CHANGE OF FOCUS
Many of the GOP representatives campaigned, in 2016, on a promise to Repeal & Replace Obamacare if they were elected. They did not bother to remind the people in their districts that in order to repeal any law it will take agreement from a minimum of 276 politicians in Washington DC.
Last week’s compromise by the House of Representatives only secured 216 votes. In order to Repeal Obamacare it will require 60 votes in the senate plus agreement by the president.
The only thing that last week’s passage of the AHCA did was allow GOP representatives to go back to their districts and report that they fulfilled their campaign promise.
Many middle-class Americans are anxious to Repeal and Replace Obamacare with a system that is affordable and works. Last week’s vote only served to move the focus of blame away from the House of Representatives to the Senate.
CHANGE OF NATURE
Originally the American Health Care Act was written as a Budget Consolidation bill. It was designed, originally, to only deal with those issues of Obamacare that are funded by tax-payers.
Sadly, extremist groups within the GOP (Freedom Caucus & Tuesday Group) blocked passage of the partial repeal until a more comprehensive, and punishing, compromise was agreed to.
Unfortunately, the MacArthur amendment, that made the AHCA more acceptable to the extreme right, also changed the nature of the AHCA.
According to the rules of the senate, Budget Consolidation bills only require a simple majority of 51 votes to be passed, but the compromise that was agree to last week changed the nature of the AHCA to a full bill. Senate rules will require a super majority (60) senators to agree to the AHCA.
That means that the AHCA is Dead On Arrival in the senate unless the GOP is able to persuade, a minimum of, 8 fiscally conservative (Blue Dog Democrats) to ignore the oath they took on January 3 to oppose anything that President Trump attempts to do on principle, regardless of what is good for the nation.
There is still a very slim chance that the AHCA can be passed as a Budget Consolidation bill. That parliamentary trick is called the Byrd rule.
The senate parliamentarian is responsible to review all proposed Budget Consolidation bills and remove anything that is not directly applicable to the U.S. Budget. Only then can the bill be presented for consideration by the entire senate.
Although there is a chance that the entire AHCA will be approved by the senate parliamentarian, it is more likely that the compromise amendments will not be allowed. If that happens the senate will need to draft their own Budget Consolidation bill, agree to it, and send it back to the House of Representative.
CHANGE OF UNDERSTANDING
I lived in IN when I was in high school. At that time IN law required every student to take a course in government/civics in order to graduate.
In that class I learned that according to the Constitution of the United States no single house of congress has the authority to create/change laws. In order for a bill to become law it must be agreed to by both houses of congress as well as the sitting President.
I also learned that it was not enough for majorities, in both houses of congress, to agree in principle that something should be done. The desired principle must be committed to writing and agree to, exactly, by both the House of Representatives and Senate. If one house changes even one clause, it must be voted on again and agreed to.
Sadly, it appears that politicians, comics and the media have forgotten that it requires agreement by both the House of Representatives and the Senate before anything can be sent to the president to be signed into law.
In my opinion, the loudmouths on TV are more interested in scaring the American public, for some reason, than actually educating them with facts. I don’t know why that is unless they realize that scared people are more easily manipulated
No! The Sky is NOT falling just because the House of Representatives passed the AHCA. It is just one of many bills that pass one house of congress.
In every session of congress, since the first congress was formed in the 18th century, bills have been passed by one house of congress only to die in the other. In fact that is the fate of the majority of bills. In truth, only a handful of proposed bills actually become law.
It is no secret that one of the legislative goals of Republicans, now that Barack Obama is out of office, is to Repeal Obamacare either entirely or in part. Last week’s vote was just the first step in that process.
Now that the House of Representatives have submitted a proposal to the senate, the senate has the option to agree to everything in the AHCA, which is not likely, send a counter-proposal back to the House of Representatives for them to consider or do nothing about Obamacare.
It is much too early for predictions about the sky falling. Rather than allowing yourself to be scared by the propaganda you hear on the TV, (go on with your lives free from worry, about health insurance at least.)
The fact is that although we like to say that America is a democracy governed by the people, the fact is that America is, and always has been, a republic governed by representatives. If you voted in the last election, you have done everything that you can do about the national policy on health insurance. It is now up to the representatives you sent to D.C. to decide the future of health insurance in the United States.
Texans can use the form below to contact our office with a question about health or life insurance.