Advocates from Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee Discuss Looming Threats to Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Today, health care advocates from Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee arrived in Washington, D.C., urging the Senate to reject the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Cancer survivors Jeff Jeans of Arizona and Joseph Merlino of Nevada, and Air Force Veteran Kelly Gregory of Tennessee, currently battling terminal breast cancer, visited Capitol Hill, met with senators, and attended the nomination hearing, to discuss the threat Judge Kavanaugh represents to their health health care and that of millions of Americans.

“This judge literally has the power to take us backward in time to the days when people like me were priced out of insurance because of our medical history,” said Gregory, an Air Force veteran from Tennessee currently battling stage four breast cancer, who was mentioned by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) during today’s confirmation hearing. “Let me be be the last person to die because of a lack of access to health care.”

Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated a vocal hostility to health care. Just last year he criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. He has been consistently hostile towards women’s health, previously arguing that employers should be able to deny women coverage for birth control and attempting to force a young woman to continue a pregnancy against her will. And he was approved by the Federalist Society, which has been advocating against the ACA since before it was signed into law.

“As I fought a rare throat cancer, I relied on coverage that I got through the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid. If it weren’t for that, I surely wouldn’t be here right now,” said Joseph Merlino, a survivor of cancer in his larynx, who met with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) this afternoon and urged her to reject the nomination. “Brett Kavanaugh’s hostility towards the ACA and Medicaid is a direct threat to millions of Americans like me who rely on it.”

Tomorrow, oral arguments begin in Texas v. United States, a lawsuit attempting to overturn the benefits provided by the ACA, including those for Americans with pre-existing conditions, brought by 20 Republican state Attorneys General and governors and backed by the Trump Administration in an unprecedented move. While these Republicans spend the afternoon arguing to strip the protections relied on by 130 million Americans, these health care advocates will be meeting with lawmakers, speaking at rallies, and conducting interviews, all to urge Senators to protect Americans’ care and reject Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“I was a Republican who was against the ACA. It took cancer and my having to face my own death to bring compassion for others into my heart, and to understand why the ACA was needed,” said Jeff Jeans of Arizona. “I implore all Senators to find in them the compassion and courage that my former Senator John McCain had and use the power we’ve entrusted to them to fight back against any attempt to take away our health care.”