A Republican lawsuit being argued in federal court in Texas this week would gut Obamacare and strip affordable coverage – or any at all – from tens of millions of Americans with everything from high cholesterol and asthma to cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening medical conditions.
Whether or not the 20 red-state attorneys general win an immediate injunction killing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, the program’s ultimate fate is likely to rest in the partisan hands of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh, whose fiery Senate confirmation hearings were underway on Capitol Hill as the court case in Texas convened, was a longtime GOP operative before being appointed to the federal bench 10 years ago, where he racked up a heavily big-business, anti-worker, anti-consumer voting record.
The open Supreme Court seat was held for 30 years by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the swing voter breaking a 4-4 tie. While Kennedy leaned right, Kavanaugh is expected to be a virtual lock as a conservative vote against health care, workers’ rights, job safety, banking regulations and other essential protections for working Americans and their families.
“Judge Kavanaugh’s history gives us no reason to believe that he will stand with working people on any issue, not even when it comes to life and death,” International President Lonnie R. Stephenson said.
A broad nationwide coalition fighting Kavanaugh’s nomination is calling attention to his voting record, political history and tens of thousands of pages of documents about his service that the Trump administration is withholding – an unprecedented level of secrecy for a Supreme Court nominee.
According to a CNN poll, just 37 percent of Americans support his confirmation. Only Robert Bork, going into his 1987 hearings, polled lower.
“The efforts of IBEW members and other concerned Americans are opening people’s eyes to the dangers of Judge Kavanaugh, and it’s imperative that we continue to call our senators and demand they reject him,” Stephenson said.
While an estimated 130 million Americans – about half of all non-elderly adults – have conditions that insurance companies could deem pre-existing, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that more than 52 million are directly at risk if ACA provisions are revoked. A majority of them, 29.4 million, are women.
Americans are deeply concerned, according to a Kaiser poll released Wednesday. Of those surveyed, 72 percent said it is “very important” that insurance companies be prohibited from ending coverage or raising rates for people with pre-existing conditions.
The courts aren’t Americans’ only risk factor when it comes to the ACA’s future, as economist Paul Krugman made clear in a column this week addressing legislation and November’s midterms:
“If you’re an American who suffers from a pre-existing medical condition, or fear that you might develop such a condition in the future, you need to be clear about the reality: Republicans are coming for your health care. If they hold the line in November, health insurance at an affordable price — maybe at any price — will be gone in a matter of months.”