Washington, DC – Republican Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Dean Heller will return to Washington after being inundated with phone calls, letters, emails and visits from constituents pleading with them to defend the health care protections millions of Americans rely upon and stop Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Yet these Senators refuse to conduct a thorough review of Brett Kavanaugh’s record and downplay or ignore the pleas and concerns of their constituents. Both Kavanaugh and the Senators who offer him their support are paying a price with their constituents. Polls show that Kavanaugh is the least popular Supreme Court nominee in recent history, less popular than Harriet Miers, whose nomination was withdrawn, and more recent polls show him under water. Support for Kavanaugh is also starting to become a political negative for Senators themselves, with a poll showing Senator Collins has an approval rating of just 49 percent, reportedly her lowest in years.
But instead of town halls or open meetings, constituents found closed doors at Senator Heller’s office in Reno and resorted to searching for Senator Collins at unlisted “public” appearances in Augusta. So in response, Protect Our Care went up with new digital ads featuring the impossible-to-ignore stories of Mainers, Nevadans and Alaskans concerned about Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Court.
Though constituents struggled to meet personally with their Senators, Collins and Murkowski did speak with reporters last week. Senator Collins downplayed the threat Kavanaugh poses, saying, “For those who have somehow drawn the connection between [Kavanaugh’s] not wanting to hear [a case on the ACA] because of jurisdictional issues and the very important consumer protections that are part of the ACA is, to me, a stretch.”
Senator Murkowski seems to refuse to ask Kavanaugh about his view on the constitutionality of the important consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act — which are under attack in the courts right now — saying, “I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m going to say I’m not going to vote for you unless you promise me you’re going to rule this way…That’s not a good process.’”
“Senators need to listen to their constituents, who are fully aware that our health care is under attack in the courts,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “Cases designed to roll back the protections in the Affordable Care Act that millions of people count on, to roll back Medicaid, and to end safe and legal abortion are live in the courts right now and likely to make their way to the Supreme Court soon. These are life and death issues that matter deeply to us, which is why the public is demanding that their Senators stand up and stop Kavanaugh.”
Kristen Nilsen, a Mainer with a pre-existing condition who has faced higher costs due to Republican sabotage of the ACA:
“Prior to the Affordable Care Act, I would have had to spend $1,500 a month [on health care], and that was all due to the fact that I had a very minor pre-existing condition that prevented me from getting an affordable plan. So I was very pleased that I was able to use the Affordable Care Act… My concern is that the Republicans will continue the sabotage that they have been waging against the ACA… and people wkith pre-existing conditions will get discriminated against if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed.”
Allison Stephens, a Nevadan who is the parent of a child with pre-existing condition:
“When my son was six years old, he was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. The fact is, my son has to see a specialist who comes from out of state, he has to take chemo injection, he has to take special eye exams because of the autoimmune nature of his illness. My son has a pre-ex and without the protections of the ACA we would be in a scenario where he could be denied access to insurance or denied access to care.”
Genevieve Morgan, a Mainer with a pre-existing condition:
“While I was getting a check-up, it revealed an anomalous high blood-pressure reading, which led to further tests that showed I had a genetic incurable disease… my children are now at a 50/50 chance of inheriting it. We are all one doctor’s appointment away from catastrophe… the system should at least give people with pre-existing conditions the protection of having health insurance.”
Mark Regan of the Disability Law Center of Alaska:
“A concern about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his nomination to the Supreme Court is the extent to which Judge Kavanaugh will likely protect people with disabilities and pre-existing conditions.”
Laura Packard, a Nevadan living with a pre-existing condition:
“Senator Heller knows the threat that Brett Kavanaugh poses to million of Nevadans and to Americans’ access to health care across the country and we demand that he stand up for the people he was elected to represent. I have a whopper of a pre-existing condition: I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I have a policy through the ACA, but who would insure me if not for these protections?”