On May 4th, the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal and replace major parts of Obamacare (more appropriately referred to as the Affordable Care Act or ACA). Ever since then, people have been losing their minds with fear over losing their insurance coverage, and with the way that the media has been covering things, it’s understandable. Fortunately, there’s no reason to panic — yet. It’s just a bill, still sitting up on Capitol Hill.
How A Bill Becomes A Law
In order for the AHCA (or any bill) to become law, it must pass in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and be approved by the President.
A presidential veto can be overridden. If the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate still believe the bill should become a law, and two-thirds of the Representatives and Senators support the bill, the President’s veto is overridden and the bill becomes a law.
But What About Unconstitutional Laws?
Sometimes, lawmakers forget about all the nuances of the Constitution and create laws that run afoul of the basic laws of our land. (See: Trump’s Travel Ban) When that happens, an aggrieved party (someone affected negatively by the new law), ends up suing the state, and a federal judge at the appropriate level can make things right. Oftentimes, that level is a federal circuit court. Sometimes it’s the Supreme Court of the United States.
10 Good Reasons to Not Be Scared
Today, the ACA is still the law of the land.
The ACA is less than a decade old. Most of us with pre-existing conditions existed before it. If it gets repealed, we’ll still be here, fighting for our right to healthcare, just like we were before it was passed.
Losing insurance coverage does not cause immediate death. ERs still have to help if your wounds may be fatal, whether or not you’re insured.
Catastrophizing doesn’t help anyone. In fact, increased stress exacerbates MS symptoms! So, take some deep breaths and visualize the future you want to see. Then put some action, any action, towards creating it.
The GOP made sure that the ACHA skipped important steps before it was passed. Usually, a bill is proposed and introduced, and then it goes to committee. Next, it’s reported on, debated, and then voted on before being referred to the Senate.
The AHCA never went to committee. It was never reported on because there was no committee researching things. Usually, we see the Congressional Budget Office make a report. That didn’t happen either. It will happen before the Senate votes on it. And you can be sure that 24+ million Americans losing health coverage will have a negative effect on our economy. It’s only a matter of showing the loss.
The Senate has already said that they’re dumping the bill and starting fresh. This is, perhaps, the very best reason to not be panicking just yet.
Less than 2 days after the AHCA was passed in the House, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) was quoted as saying, “We’re writing a Senate bill and not passing the House bill. We’ll take whatever good ideas we find there that meet our goals.”
The Senate wants to see reports, and they will not vote for at least a month, which gives us plenty of time to call, write, fax, and protest.
If, by some bizarre twist of fate, the bill, as written, does pass in the Senate, President Trump might veto.
Now, I know you’re thinking, “There’s no way he’ll do that! Repeal and replace was a campaign promise!” but that guy has gone back on so many promises already — and he wants people to love him. He needs validation.
Nothing would make him more unpopular with the entire country than signing a bill that Harvard researchers have said will kill more than 43,000 people every year that otherwise would have lived. It’d be an act of war against his own people. The citizens wouldn’t tolerate it.
If we hit the worst case scenario, where the bill becomes law, we would look to the Judiciary for a remedy.
Many folks have argued that the AHCA is unconstitutional on its face (and likely also in its application) because it runs afoul of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. In layman’s terms, because it would affect women differently than men, it can’t be a federal law.
If you’re worried that an affected citizen wouldn’t be able to afford to fight the law, don’t be. New York’s Attorney General has already promised to sue if the law passes.
The GOP’s mismanagement of this issue actually aids the fight for single-payer healthcare. Even President Trump has publicly admitted that single-payer healthcare gives better service than we currently have today.
We’re going to make it through this, together.
Remember — human lives are priceless and valuable, and money is paper and metal that only has power over us because we continue to allow it. It’s a legal fiction. It’s make-believe on a worldwide scale. You are real and precious and worth more than any politician can understand.
Don’t let the bastards get you down.
Are you concerned about losing your insurance?
- Rachael Shapiro Majka is a writer, health advocate, and stay-at-home mom who loves to cook, make music, and foster kittens. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music and a juris doctor from Southwestern Law School. Diagnosed with MS in May of 2007 (which caused her to develop seizure disorder), she chronicles her quest to live the best life possible on the blog In It For The Parking and keeps up a popular Pinterest board of paleo recipes called the Paleo Compendium. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.You may also enjoy reading other articles by Rachael: 5 Ways To Make Your Home MS Friendly, Having The Best Sex Possible With Multiple Sclerosis and Cinnamon Helps To Suppress Symptoms.
Please watch and share our MS Awareness video.