October 05, 2020

Feinstein: Conservative Court Could Deny Health Care to Millions During Pandemic

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the importance of preserving the Affordable Care Act:

“In the midst of a global pandemic, there are few things more important to the American people than access to affordable, quality health care.

“That’s why it’s disappointing that Senate Republicans are rushing to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett, an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act, to the Supreme Court so she can rule on a crucial health care case next month.

“President Trump said he will only appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the ACA, saying ‘my judicial appointments will do the right thing unlike Bush’s appointee John Roberts on ObamaCare.’

“So there should be little doubt why Republicans want her on the court before it hears arguments on November 10 – just one week after the election – in Texas v. California.

“That case, supported by the Trump administration, could strike down the Affordable Care Act and all of the protections the law provides. If the ACA is struck down it would mean:

  • More than 20 million people could lose their health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • 135 million people could lose protections for pre-existing conditions, including more than 7 million Americans who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, which is now considered a pre-existing condition.

  • 2 million young adults under the age of 26 could lose access to their parents’ health insurance.

  • Health insurance companies would again be free to charge high rates while providing insufficient coverage for essential services.

“The majority of Americans – 62 percent in a poll released this week – don’t want the ACA struck down, compared to only 24 percent who do. Senate Republicans should listen to the public and stop their efforts to jam through this anti-ACA judge.”

Background:

  • The majority of Americans (62%-24% percent) do not want the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act according to a recent Morning Consult poll. Even more support specific provisions such as prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions (72%) according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Survey.

  • The majority of Americans (57%-38%) want this Supreme Court vacancy filled by the next president, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.

  • Before her appointment to the 7th Circuit, Judge Barrett criticized the Supreme Court’s opinions upholding the ACA.

    • “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett said in 2012 when arguing that the decision in NFIB v. Sebelius was wrongly decided.

    • Barrett said that the dissent in the 2015 decision King v. Burwell had “the better of the legal argument.” Under Barrett’s interpretation of the case, 6.4 million Americans could have lost their health insurance if the state exchanges were declared ineligible for federal subsidies.

    • On November 10, 2020, the Supreme Court will hear a new challenge to the ACA, Texas v. California. If confirmed, Judge Barrett could be the deciding vote in the lawsuit supported by the Trump administration and Senate Republicans to strike down the ACA and eliminate health care for millions of Americans.
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