What’s At Stake: Barrett Could Be The Vote That Takes Health Care Away From Millions Of Americans

At today’s hearing, Senator Coons made the context of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination clear: just one week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear a case where Barrett could be the deciding vote to terminate the entire Affordable Care Act, including its protections for people with preexisting conditions.

Trump’s lawsuit to terminate the ACA is scheduled to come before the Supreme Court the week after the election.

Kaiser Family Foundation: “The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) future continues to be uncertain as the law’s constitutionality will once again be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in California v. Texas (known as Texas v. U.S. in the lower courts). Oral argument is scheduled for Tuesday, November 10, 2020.”

Barrett has criticized past Supreme Court rulings that upheld the ACA.

Washington Post: “Among the most revealing was an essay she wrote at the start of 2017, four months before Trump nominated her to the circuit bench. In the essay published by a journal of Notre Dame Law School, where she was a professor, Barrett argues that judges should respect the text of laws and contends that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who wrote the majority opinion the first time the Supreme Court upheld the health-care law, ‘pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.’”

NPR’s TOM ASHBROOK: “If the Court had taken this phrase, which clearly did not align with the intent of the law, and overturned in effect the whole law on that basis, would that have made it an activist Court, not in line with conservative legal principles?” BARRETT: “Well, let’s see. I think that the phrase ‘activist court’ is sometimes used to describe a court that is willing to overturn statutes passed by Congress. Or state legislatures, for that matter. But I would say that actually, I don’t think of the term ‘activist’ in that way, because you might say that to uphold the Constitution as against legislation is exactly what a Court ought to be doing.”

What’s at stake: Health care for more than 20million; protections for patients with preexisting conditions; one of our most critical tools to combating COVID; and more.

  • Comprehensive Coverage: The ACA established what are known as “essential health benefits,” mandating coverage of services like prescription drugs and hospitalization. Coronavirus testing and treatment are essential health benefits and must be covered by all ACA-compliant plans.
  • Access To Critical Vaccinations Without Cost Sharing: Once a coronavirus vaccine is developed, the Affordable Care Act will almost certainly cover the coronavirus vaccine without cost-sharing, because it requires plans to cover all vaccinations recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Joe Biden has also committed to ensuring a vaccine for COVID-19 is cost-free for Americans.
  • Protections For As Many As 133 Million Americans With Preexisting Conditions: Under the ACA, insurance companies are not allowed to discriminate against those with preexisting conditions by denying them coverage or charging higher rates.
  • Coverage for 20+ Million People: Because of the ACA, more than 20 million Americans gained health coverage. People with insurance are much more likely to see a doctor when they are sick and to get the treatment they need.
  • Increased CDC Funding: The Affordable Care Act established the CDC Prevention and Public Health Fund, which helps states prepare for disease outbreaks.
  • Medicaid Expansion: Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid to vulnerable populations. More than 17 million Americans now have coverage through Medicaid expansion. Importantly, Medicaid’s funding structure allows funds to increase in response to a public health emergency like coronavirus.
  • Key Support For Rural Hospitals: The ACA significantly reduced uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $12 billion, or roughly 30 percent. As hospitals face an influx in coronavirus patients, it is critical that they are paid for the treatment they provide.