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Trump’s Supreme Court nominee ‘threatens the destruction’ of Obamacare, Pelosi warns

‘If this nominee is confirmed, millions of families’ health care will be ripped away in the middle of a pandemic’

Chris Riotta
New York
Sunday 27 September 2020 16:41 BST
Donald Trump announces Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has described President Donald Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court as a danger which “threatens the destruction” of health care protections for more than 135 million Americans provided by the Affordable Care Act.

In a statement released shortly after the president nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative federal judge and professor at Notre Dame law school, Ms Pelosi narrowed in on the president’s attempts to repeal the landmark healthcare legislation passed by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

“For four years, President Trump has tried to crush the Affordable Care Act in the Congress and the Courts,” the House speaker said in a statement on Saturday night.

“This nomination threatens the destruction of life-saving protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions together with every other benefit and protection of the Affordable Care Act,” she added. “If this nominee is confirmed, millions of families’ health care will be ripped away in the middle of a pandemic that has infected seven million Americans and killed over 200,000 people in our country.”

Her comments come as the vast majority of the Republican-led Senate has already vowed to push through a Supreme Court nomination just weeks before the presidential election — despite Republicans refusing to hold a confirmation process for Mr Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016, Judge Merrick Garland, insisting voters should decide the next president before a new justice can be appointed to the nation’s highest court.

Republicans appear to have the votes required to nominate Mr Trump’s replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away earlier this month due to metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87.

If confirmed, judge Barrett, 48, would likely serve on the Supreme Court for several decades. Justices hold a lifetime position, allowing Mr Trump to potentially reshape the balance of the court for generations to come.

If nominated ahead of the November election, as the Senate appears intent on, the president’s third nominee to the Supreme Court would likely be positioned in time to hear oral arguments for a case which targets the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Those arguments begin just one week after the November vote.

Democrats have largely responded to the president’s nomination of judge Barrett by focusing on health care, and the president’s years-long attack against the Affordable Care Act.

In a statement on Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also zeroed in on the potential impact Mr Trump’s third pick to the court could have on insurance coverage for millions.

“The American people should make no mistake—a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Mr Schumer said. “By nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Trump has once again put Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs.”

Mr Trump and the GOP have attempted to revoke components of the Affordable Care Act throughout his tenure in the Oval Office, though they have been largely unsuccessful in doing so. Republican leaders have long promised to unveil a plan in place of the Affordable Care Act that they claim would provide higher quality insurance at a cheaper rate for the average America, though that plan has never been revealed.

By Sunday, the president was once again claiming he would have a fix for what would happen if he was successful in repealing the Affordable Care Act with a vote in the Supreme Court, potentially causing hundreds of millions of Americans to lose insurance or pay higher rates for coverage.

“Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court,” the president claimed. “Would be a big WIN for the USA!”

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