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Amy Klobuchar Archives — Protect Our Care

Watch The Two Times Brett Kavanaugh Refused to Stand Up for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Twice yesterday, Donald Trump’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court would not commit to protecting people with pre-existing conditions on the very same day that Trump’s Department of Justice argued in court in Texas that these protections should be overturned. In response, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, said: “The fix is in. If anyone still thinks that Trump’s position in the Texas case and the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the court is simply a coincidence – drop me a line – I have some ocean front property for you in Kansas.”

Watch for yourself:

Sen. Klobuchar: “The Texas case on pre-existing conditions, the Administration is taking the position that it’s unconstitutional – that part of the Affordable Care Act, down in the Texas case – taking the position that you could actually throw people off of their insurance if they have a pre-existing condition. So, let’s say that that law is found to be constitutional. Could the President choose not to implement the part of the law providing protections for pre-existing conditions?

Kavanaugh: Senator, that’s a pending case, so I cannot talk about it.

Sen. Whitehouse: In my office you told me that you could provide no assurance to me that you’d uphold a statute requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Is that still true here in public?

Kavanaugh: Well, I think, Senator, it’s important to understand the principle in play here.

Sen. Whitehouse: We’ve talked a lot about that, but is the statement you made – have I recited it accurately, and is it still true today that you can give no assurance that you would uphold the statue?

Kavanaugh: Well, Senator, judges like to explain their decisions.

Sen. Whitehouse: Yep, but I get to ask the questions. Usually you get to ask the questions because you’re an appellate judge, but today for half an hour I get to. So, is it still true that you can give no assurance that you would uphold a statute requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing medical conditions?

Kavanaugh: So, to prepare for this moment, I went back and read –

Sen. Whitehouse: I really would like you to be as careful with your time as you can because I have a limited amount of time with you, so the quicker you can get to the answer – it could be as simple as yes or no.

Kavanaugh: But I can enhance your understanding of my answer if I explain it, I think.

Sen. Whitehouse: I really just want your answer on the record, I think I’m pretty capable of understanding on my own.

Kavanaugh: But, well, I want everyone to understand my answer. So there’s nominee precedent of how justices and nominees in my position have answered in the past, I’ll be succinct if I can. And all eight sitting justices –

Sen. Whitehouse: I know, you’ve actually already said this in the hearing, so people who are listening and are interested have actually already heard you say this.

Kavanaugh: Well, I think it’s really important so I want to –

Sen. Whitehouse: Say it again then.

Kavanaugh: I want to underscore it. All eight sitting justices in the Supreme Court have made it clear that it would be inconsistent with judicial independence, rooted in Article III, to provide answers on cases or issues that could come before us. Justice Ginsburg hints forecast, Justice Kagan talking about precedent, no thumbs up or down and I went back, Justice Thurgood Marshall was asked repeatedly in his hearing, what do you think about Miranda, what do you think about Miranda, what do you think about Miranda –

Sen. Whitehouse: Got it, everybody else does it and the answer is still no.

Kavanaugh: So the reason everyone else does it is rooted in judicial independence and my respect for precedent. So it’s a combination of my respect for precedent, nominee precedent, and my respect for judicial independence. So I can’t give assurances on a specific hypothetical.

Health Care Advocates Travel to D.C. to Urge Rejection of Brett Kavanaugh

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.”