On Saturday, President Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to fill the vacancy left on the Supreme Court by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With his selection of Judge Coney Barrett, Trump has made clear that our health is on the line. One week after the election, the court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, the Trump lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act. By rushing through Judge Coney Barrett’s nomination, Trump is trying to tilt the balance of the court in his favor to throw our entire health care system into chaos by ending protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and ripping coverage from more than 23 million Americans in the midst of an ever-worsening pandemic.
New York Times: Obamacare Returns as Galvanizing Issue After Ginsburg Death and Barrett Nomination. “Democrats in Congress have sprung into action with news conferences and pep talks to campaign volunteers featuring people with pre-existing medical conditions who were able to get coverage because of the law…they are hoping to reignite the public passion to protect the law that helped Democrats recapture the House in 2018, a year after Republicans in Congress came close to repealing it. This time, party leaders are quick to point out, the election is coming amid a pandemic that has left many Americans requiring expensive medical care, including for potentially long-term health problems that insurers could refuse to cover if the law and its protections with people for pre-existing conditions were repealed.” [New York Times, 9/28/20]
Washington Post: Democrats Focus Supreme Court Battle on Fate of Health-Care Law Under Trump. “President Trump attacked the Affordable Care Act as ‘terrible’ on Sunday, as Democrats tried to make the fate of the law under a probable new Trump-driven conservative Supreme Court majority a reason to vote against him. As a Senate fight over Trump’s third and most consequential Supreme Court pick looms, Democrats on Sunday focused on the role Trump’s nominee could play in overturning President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law amid a pandemic.” [Washington Post, 9/27/20]
NBC News: Trump Court Pick Amy Coney Barrett’s Past Critiques on Obamacare Face Scrutiny. “With the nation experiencing a pandemic that’s already claimed 200,000 lives and left at least 6 million with potential Covid-19-related ‘pre-existing’ conditions, Democrats are focusing on health care to persuade voters that Barrett’s appointment will have a direct impact on their lives. A new lawsuit led by Texas and supported by the Trump administration is coming before the Supreme Court on Nov. 10.” [NBC News, 9/26/20]
Reuters: Biden, Fellow Democrats Focus on Healthcare In Supreme Court Fight. “Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and fellow Democrats made it clear on Sunday that their opposition to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, would focus on the possibility she could cast a decisive vote to strike down the Obamacare health law…Barrett could be on the court’s bench for oral arguments on Nov. 10 in a case in which Trump and his Republican allies are seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – the 2010 law popularly known Obamacare. That could cost millions of Americans their healthcare coverage as well as protections for pre-existing health conditions.” [Reuters, 9/27/20]
Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Vacancy Makes Health Care Leading Issue In 2020 Elections. “Democrats are trying to impress upon voters that health coverage under the ACA and Medicaid expansion, which has extended health insurance to about 20 million Americans, is on the line. Because the lawsuit is being brought by GOP-led states, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden couldn’t drop the case if he is elected. If Democrats win majorities in both the House and Senate, they could pass legislation reinstating the penalty for not having coverage, even with a $1 charge, to make the lawsuit moot. If Republicans retain Senate control, they would be unlikely to back mandatory minimum benefits or other aspects of the Obama-era law. Under the ACA, insurers can’t reject consumers or charge them more if they have a pre-existing condition.” [Wall Street Journal, 9/24/20]
The Health 202: Democrats Are Making Amy Coney Barrett’s Nomination All About Obamacare. “Democrats are keeping a tight focus on the ACA as they respond to the Barrett pick. As we’ve explained in The Health 202, the probable replacement of Ginsburg with a conservative justice makes it somewhat more likely — although far from certain — that the Supreme Court may strike down some of the ACA or send it back to a lower court to decide which parts of the law should stay or go.” [Washington Post, 9/28/20]
The Atlantic: Democrats’ SCOTUS Message Could Really Work In Swing States. “Based on their advertising spending, Democrats are betting that health care may be even more relevant right now than in years past because of the likelihood that insurance companies will consider COVID-19 a preexisting condition. ‘The whole ‘pre-ex’ conversation is arguably more salient in ’20 than it was in ’18, and [the possible upcoming] Court decision adds to that,’ says J. B. Poersch, the president of Senate Majority PAC, the principal super PAC supporting Democratic senators. Adds Rachel Irwin, the group’s communications director: ‘A good portion of our advertising so far has laid the groundwork on preexisting conditions with personal stories. Every single Senate race has been hammering [that].’ Confirmation hearings for a Trump-appointed justice who may provide the deciding vote to overturn the ACA could provide Democrats an unparalleled platform to keep ‘hammering’ the message that Republican senators are threatening the law’s protections.” [The Atlantic, 9/24/20]