As Democrats found out last year in the fight to save the Affordable Care Act, healthcare is an important issue to Americans, and one that will energize and motivate their supporters to volunteer, turn out to vote, and even march in the streets.
As a result, it was no surprise when POLITICO reported that Chuck Schumer was planning to talk a lot about healthcare in the weeks ahead:
“Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Brett Kavanaugh is someone who would “overturn women’s reproductive rights and strike down healthcare protections for millions of Americans.”
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What may be more of a surprise, however, is the new report from POLITICO which points out that Schumer may need to get just one Republican Senator to switch sides and join the Democrats in defeating Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“With John McCain away from Washington as he undergoes cancer treatment, the Republican Senate majority is effectively 50-49. That means Chuck Schumer might need only to peel away a single GOP lawmaker to block Brett Kavanaugh.”
This changes the entire dynamic in Washington and makes the Democrats’ hopes of blocking Kavanaugh’s appointment seem like less of a pipe dream and more of an achievable goal.
Yesterday the Washington Post said that the Kavanaugh pick puts healthcare on the ballot for the midterms:
“In tapping Brett Kavanaugh to be his second nominee to the Supreme Court, Trump has guaranteed that health care will be at the center of the confirmation fight. Senate Democrats can use the confirmation to return attention to the health-care fight before the midterm elections. And Trump, with this nomination and other recent actions, made that much easier.”
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut picked up the ball and ran with it, tweeting:
“Are you one of the 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition? This SCOTUS nomination could determine whether you get covered, or whether we go back to the days when insurance companies could jack up your prices and deny you care entirely.”
And Murphy is not the only Democrat to point out the fact that working together Donald Trump, the GOP Congress, and a Supreme Court with Kavanaugh on it will take away protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions.
Even conservative West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin in a statement on Kavanaugh’s nomination said this:
“The Supreme Court will ultimately decide if nearly 800,000 West Virginians with pre-existing conditions will lose their healthcare.”
West Virginians may like Trump and dislike abortion, but they also like health coverage, and they like to be able to get health insurance even if they have pre-existing medical conditions. This is a winning issue for Democrats.
The most popular part of the Affordable Care Act was its rule that health insurance policies had to be issued to people even if they are currently sick or have any type of medical condition. Health insurance companies think they have the right to deny coverage to “bad risks.”
If health insurance companies have their way, the only people in America who will be able to get health insurance are young people with no medical conditions currently or in their histories. This is probably one of the most unpopular ideas that the Republicans could come up with, but they are supporting it because of the tens of millions of dollars that have been paid to them by the health insurance companies.
Yesterday Chuck Schumer went on TV and said:
“Let me say this. I believe if we can prove to the American people, which I believe is truly the case, that this nominee will lead to a court that repeals women’s reproductive freedom, repeals ACA with its protections for pre-existing conditions, we will get a majority of the Senate to vote for it.”
It should be easy to prove this to the American people. As NARAL pointed out in a tweet:
“Over HALF of all women and girls have a “pre-existing condition,” but are currently guaranteed coverage through the Affordable Care Act. If Kavanaugh sways the balance of #SCOTUS, that protection could be lost and millions could lose their access to healthcare. #StopKavanaugh“
This is a huge issue, which proves that the fight to block Kavanaugh will not be primarily about abortion or gay rights or any similar issue. The fight to block Kavanaugh will be the fight to protect healthcare rights. And as the country saw last year when the Affordable Care Act was saved from defeat by Republicans, this is a fight that Democrats can win.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.
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