California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein began the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett by defending the Affordable Care Act, warning that it could be eliminated if Barrett is successfully confirmed.
“Health care coverage for millions of Americans is at stake with this nomination,” Feinstein said during her opening statement. “We will examine the consequences if, and that’s a big if, Republicans succeed in rushing this nomination through the Senate.”
The Supreme Court is set to hear Texas v. California on Nov. 10, which could decide the fate of Obamacare. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the act to be eliminated and said during his campaign that he would appoint judges who shared his view, Feinstein said.
“When he appointed Judge Barrett to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, the president said that eliminating the Affordable Care Act would be ‘a big win for the U.S.A.,'” she continued.
Feinstein also referenced Barrett’s previous criticism of Chief Justice John Roberts, who was the deciding vote in Arizona v. U.S., the 2012 case which upheld Obamacare. After the decision, Barrett said that Roberts “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meeting to save the statute.”
“This well could mean that if Judge Barrett is confirmed, Americans stand to lose the benefits that the ACA provides,” Feinstein said, emphasizing the millions of Americans and their families who have preexisting conditions and who are granted government health care through their work.
Feinstein also said that women could lose protections granted under the ACA, including “critical preventative services and maternity care.” (RELATED: Democrats Reportedly Worry Feinstein, 87, Can’t Handle Confirmation Hearing)
“The bottom line is this: there have been 70 attempts to repeal the ACA, but clearly the effort to dismantle the law continues, and [Republicans] are asking the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act,” she said.
Feinstein’s comments were echoed by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, who said that Republicans have “the potential to accomplish through the Court what they’ve failed to accomplish by votes in the halls of Congress.”
“The top of their hit list is the Affordable Care Act. It’s no coincidence that Republicans are rushing to confirm Judge Barrett before the Court considers the latest Republican-led lawsuit to overturn the ACA on Nov. 10,” he said. “Judge Barrett’s writings have made it unequivocally clear that she considers the act unconstitutional.”
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