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Trump Picked Amy Coney Barrett Because He Knows She Will Overturn the ACA

President Trump has made clear that the litmus test for picking a Supreme Court nominee is the future justice’s intent to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Amy Coney Barrett passes this test with flying colors, having criticized both major rulings that upheld the ACA. On Sunday, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to his lawsuit to overturn the health care law  — which would rip coverage away from more than 20 million Americans and eliminate protections for 135 million people with pre-existing conditions in the middle of a global pandemic — and his confidence in a victory if Barrett is seated. And that’s not even the first time he has said opposition to the ACA is nonnegotiable when selecting his judicial appointments.

Trump Has Repeatedly Promised to Appoint Judges Who Will Overturn the ACA 

As far back as 2015, Donald Trump promised that “my judicial appointments will do the right thing unlike Bush’s appointee John Roberts on ObamaCare.”  The Republican party platform for 2016 and 2020 clearly states that GOP-appointed judges will “reverse the long line of activist decisions – including Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases” and while running for president in 2016, Trump assailed Roberts’ rulings calling him a “nightmare for Conservatives” who “gave us Obamacare, almost as much as Obama himself.” 

Trump continues to stand by his promise to “terminate health care under Obamacare” by pursuing a lawsuit that could overturn the entire law to the Supreme Court. Trump has also said that he is “looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia.” The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia opposed the ACA repeatedly, famously dubbing the law “SCOTUSCare.” 

Within hours of nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Trump tweeted again about his hopes of overturning the ACA, saying “Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court. Would be a big WIN for the USA!” The next day, Trump called Obamacare “terrible” and doubled-down on his goal of overturning the law: “‘If we can end Obamacare and come up with a much better health-care system that’s much cheaper and much better, which is what we’ll do.” 

Two Republican Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Are Openly Rooting for Judge Barrett to Overturn the ACA

Senator Mike Lee told George Stephanopolus on ABC’s “This Week” that he hoped Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination would lead to the court declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.  “I believe the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional when it was enacted. It was unconstitutional when it was litigated in 2012. The fact that Congress chose to enact an unconstitutional law shouldn’t tarnish Judge Barrett in this. Her job is to figure out whether it’s unconstitutional or not,” Lee said. 

Senator Ted Cruz Cruz claimed that it would not be a problem for Amy Coney Barrett and the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, because Republicans would immediately act to protect pre-existing conditions. “Every Republican agrees we’re going to protect preexisting conditions,” Cruz said, while criticizing Democrats for trying to make Barrett’s nomination into a referendum on health care. “What they’re talking about is what they think politically resonates, but 100 out of 100 senators agree we’re going to protect preexisting conditions regardless of what happens with Obamacare.”

HEADLINES: Democrats Put Health Care “Center Stage” During Day One of the Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings

Day one of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings is in the books and headlines show that Senate Democrats used the spotlight to make clear what’s at stake for our health care and the consequences Americans would face in the middle of a pandemic without the protections of the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans are trying to install Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the court to accomplish what they couldn’t do through legislation — completely overturn the ACA. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Trump’s lawsuit, California v. Texas, one week after election day. If successful, the lawsuit would rip coverage from more than 20 million Americans and remove protections for more than 135 million Americans with a pre-existing condition. 

Leah Millis/Pool / Getty Images

NBC News: With Eye on Election, Democrats Hammer Health Care on First Day of Barrett Hearing. “Senate Democrats came to the first day of the Supreme Court hearings Monday with a singular message: Health care coverage and protections for millions of Americans are at risk if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. Like a choir singing in unison, Democrats carried the same tune, in different vocal ranges. Each showed photos of constituents who have battled illness and stand to lose potential lifesaving treatment if the Affordable Care Act were axed, demonstrating an unusual level of harmony for a party not known for message discipline.” [NBC News, 10/12/20

New York Times: For Judiciary Committee Democrats, the Affordable Care Act Was Center Stage. “Senate Democrats have settled on their line of attack against Judge Amy Coney Barrett: Her confirmation to the Supreme Court could mean the death of the Affordable Care Act and millions of Americans stripped of their health insurance…In their opening remarks on Monday, the first day at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing, one Democrat after another invoked the health care law — and, more broadly, the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.” [New York Times, 10/12/20

Time: On Day One of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Hearing, Democrats Focus on Health Care. “During the course of the day, every single Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee mentioned health care in their opening remarks. In a show of disciplined messaging, they honed in on fears that Barrett would overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if she were confirmed to the Supreme Court — which is set to hear a case about the constitutionality of the Obama-era health care law just one week after Election Day.” [Time, 10/12/20

Yahoo News: Barrett Nomination Hearing Begins as Democrats Focus on Health Care. “The confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett began Monday morning, with Democrats focusing on what her vote could mean for the Affordable Care Act, which is being challenged by the Trump administration and a number of Republican states in a case coming before the court this term. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee came equipped with large posters showing photos of Americans who they say would lose their health care if the Supreme Court were to overturn the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Barrett has written she disagrees with Chief Justice John Roberts’s 2012 opinion that upheld the ACA. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month, was in the majority upholding the ACA in the case eight years ago.” [Yahoo News, 10/12/20

Associated Press: Health Care is Focus as Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Hearing Opens. “Senate Democrats branded Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett a threat to the Affordable Care Act and many Americans’ health care Monday at the start of a fast-tracked hearing that Republicans are confident will end with Barrett’s confirmation to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before Election Day.” [Associated Press, 10/12/20

Washington Post: At Barrett Hearing, Harris Highlights Health Care, Ginsburg in Opening Statement. “At Barrett’s hearing, Harris echoed the health-care message of other Senate Democrats and warned that confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court would precipitate the demise of the Affordable Care Act. In her opening remarks, Harris told the story of a constituent who has benefited from the protections of the 2010 health-care law: an 11-year-old girl named Myka from Southern California, who has a congenital heart defect and has to see multiple specialists during the year. Harris argued that because Republicans have failed legislatively to repeal the increasingly popular ACA, ‘they are trying to bypass the will of the voters and have the Supreme Court do their dirty work.’ The justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments in a high-profile Obamacare case on Nov. 10.” [Washington Post, 10/12/20]

Senator Warner’s Health Care Improvement Act Takes Vital Steps to Improve Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care, Particularly During a Pandemic

Washington, DC — Today, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) unveiled legislation that would increase access to health coverage, reduce costs and strengthen Medicaid as America battles the coronavirus pandemic. The Health Care Improvement Act would reduce the cost of health care coverage on the ACA exchanges, strengthen Medicaid to expand health care coverage to more American families, ban surprise medical billing, allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices and implement several other common sense provisions to stabilize our health care system. Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse release the following statement in response: 

“As President Trump and his Republican allies try to rip coverage away from millions of Americans in the middle of a public health crisis, Senator Warner is working to make health care more accessible and affordable for the American people. Senator Warner’s bill would take bold steps to reduce costs, expand coverage, and strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions at a time when access to affordable health care has never been more critical. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans should prioritize the health and well-being of Americans by working with Senator Warner to build on the success of the Affordable Care Act and abandon their disastrous lawsuit to take health care away.”