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HEADLINES: Supreme Court Vacancy “Supercharges” Health Care Election

By September 23, 2020No Comments

With national attention trained on the Supreme Court vacancy, it is clear that the fight for Americans’ health care has never been more urgent. On November 10, 2020 — one week after the election — the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, a case that could overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, including protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and throw our entire health care system into chaos. Coverage shows health care is on the ballot in November, and the choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden couldn’t be more stark.

Roll Call: Supreme Court Fight Underscores Campaign Trail Focus on Health Care. “In a campaign in which health care was already a top issue for voters, the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg raised the risks for the law signed by President Barack Obama that expanded insurance coverage to more than 20 million people. The Trump administration is arguing that the justices should strike down all of the law, including its popular protections allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance and requiring coverage of preexisting medical conditions. The Supreme Court has not said when it would rule on the lawsuit after the Nov. 10 arguments. Democrats are highlighting the upcoming threat, with party leaders drawing a straight line from the health care law to the COVID-19 pandemic to the Supreme Court. Former Vice President Joe Biden is raising the specter of COVID-19 creating preexisting conditions for the millions of Americans who have had it or could become infected.” [Roll Call, 9/23/20

Politico: Pandemic Supercharges Campaign Battles Over Obamacare. “The message will only intensify in coming weeks, in light of Friday’s death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her death leaves the decision in the high-stakes Trump-backed lawsuit to ax the entire ACA in the hands of an evenly-divided court where Chief Justice John Roberts was widely viewed to emerge as the key swing vote…Both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratically-aligned outside groups are paying for TV ads focused on health care in nearly all their top targeted districts, especially red-leaning suburbs they’re trying to flip.” [Politico, 9/18/20

New York Times: Joe Biden’s Court Vacancy Plan: More Talk of Health Care and the Pandemic. “Now, confronted with a moment that many believe will upend the 2020 election — the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the prospect of a bitter Supreme Court confirmation battle — Mr. Biden’s campaign is sticking to what it believes is a winning strategy. Campaign aides said Saturday they would seek to link the court vacancy to the health emergency gripping the country and the future of health care in America…For Democrats, the focus on health care — overlaid by the pandemic — is a rerun of the successful playbook that helped power the party’s takeover of the House of Representatives in 2018 and a fidelity to Mr. Biden’s steadfast promise to defend Obamacare, a pledge that helped him navigate through the 2020 primary.” [New York Times, 9/19/20

Associated Press: Biden to Focus on Health Care In Supreme Court Debate. “Joe Biden on Sunday used the sudden Supreme Court vacancy to reinforce his argument that the upcoming election should be a referendum on President Donald Trump’s handling of health care and the coronavirus. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg jolted the presidential campaign just six weeks before the election and as several states are already voting. Trump has seized on the opportunity to nominate a new justice to motivate his most loyal voters. Biden kept the focus on health care, which has proven to be a winning issue for Democrats during previous elections and could be even more resonant amid the pandemic.” [Associated Press, 9/20/20

Axios: Inside Biden’s Supreme Court Strategy. “Joe Biden’s closing argument will shift to a dominant emphasis on health care, turning the looming Supreme Court fight into a referendum on coverage and pre-existing conditions, officials tell Axios. Why it matters: Biden aides believed they were winning when the race was about the coronavirus pandemic. Now they plan to use the Supreme Court opening as a raucous new field for a health care fight, returning to a theme that gave Democrats big midterm wins in 2018.” [Axios, 9/20/20