Tag Archives: U. S. House of Representatives

Obamacare repeal begins. For real this time.

WASHINGTON, DC — On 4 May 2017, the U. S. House of Representatives overcame fear-mongering from opposition party members to pass the American Healthcare Act.  The American Healthcare Act is a bill that begins the process of repealing and replacing the prior Administration’s signature healthcare law.  Noteworthy within the prior Administration’s law were a large number of taxes, mandated benefits to be included in all health plans, employer mandates and the prohibition against health insurance companies pricing health plans by the health of the customer.

A brief review of the summary of the American Healthcare Act shows that this bill does repeal many of the taxes included in the prior Administration’s healthcare law, as well as  individual and employer mandates.  It looks like the bill may also open up the definition of what coverages are allowed/required in ‘qualifying health care plans.’  More freedom is seldom a bad thing.  The bill also allows health insurers to price their offered coverage according to the age and health condition of customers whilst also assisting those with ‘pre-existing conditions’ and severe health conditions in paying for their own coverage.

Further, it appears to allow States to decide whether to roll back the Medicaid expansion.  Federal Funding for the Medicaid expansion will continue to remain available to States through 2020.

The American Healthcare Act has several hurdles yet to be crossed before it can become law.  It must still be debated, amended and voted on in the U. S. Senate. It must have differences in the House and Senate versions worked out by a Joint Committee.  The final version must pass both houses of Congress.  Finally, the President must sign it into law.

This bill appears to go a long way toward removing the shackles the prior healthcare law placed on the entire U. S. economy with the taxes and mandates.  Employers will be free to give more hours to part-time employees and to expand their businesses by hiring more total employees, without the mandate to provide expensive healthcare coverage.

Without the mandates, philanthropists, public-spirited organizations and religious denominations will have to step in to ensure that noone falls through the cracks.

The bill passed the House by a margin of 217 to 213, with no members of the Democrat Party voting for it.

Opinions expressed herein are my own and in no way reflect those of Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Military Department, the U. S. Army or the U. S. DoD.  All of these organizations have their own public affairs offices and spokespersons, which do not actually include me.



Summary and full text of the American Healthcare Act


Wall Street Journal

Why train fighters who make peace with ISIS?

The U. S. House of Representatives is debating a bill that would authorize the arming and training of so-called moderate Syrian rebels to fight against ISIS.  Apparently the House wants to open up a second front in the operations against ISIS. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea.  Since August, the U. S. has been supporting the Kurdish Peshmerga with small arms and supplies and Germany has agreed to sell Peshmerga heavy weapons to hold ISIS back in Iraq.  If the West could deny ISIS safe havens in Syria, then the Kurds might be able to finish them off.

But let’s think a little bit deeper about this.  These ragtag bands of Syrian rebels fight amongst themselves as much as they do against Syrian President Assad’s government.  The House wants to ask them to open up a second front themselves.  Speaker Boehner wants to  ask the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to fight Assad on one side and ISIS on the other.  Does even the U. S. have a National Strategy to fight a two front war anymore? The US has Army Divisions and Marine Expeditionary Units and Navy Carrier Strike Groups and Air Force Fighter Wings.  With all those military formations and capabilities do we have a plan for a two front war? Do we?  And we are expecting the FSA to do this.

Now let’s keep going; let’s peel the onion back another layer.  The New York Times reports that the Syrian rebels’ loyalties maybe questionable and their opposition to ISIS may be suspect. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/12/world/middleeast/us-pins-hope-on-syrian-rebels-with-loyalties-all-over-the-map.html?_r=3)  The Huffington Post agrees and goes a step further, reporting that the Free Syrian Army has made a truce with ISIS. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-soltz/what-we-dont-know-about-s_b_5825304.html)  It isn’t just the conservative news sites like Fox News Channel, TheBlaze and Breitbart News who are reporting that the FSA has struck a truce with ISIS, yes the HuffPo does, too.  Even Russia Today asserts a truce between FSA and ISIS (http://rt.com/news/187580-isis-deal-syrian-rebels/)

ISIS must be stopped from driving the Christians and Yazidi out of Iraq.  ISIS must pay for beheading US journalists and British aid workers.  ISIS must pay for selling women into slavery.  But, I don’t think the FSA are the ones to make them.  The Peshmerga, yes; FSA, not so much.

So, I ask again, Mr Speaker, why would we arm and train the FSA, thinking that they would fight ISIS?

What do you think about ISIS and Syria? Let us know in the comments.

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The opinions are my own, unless otherwise cited, and not necessarily those of my employers.