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Features & Columns

How Filling Empty Supreme Court Seat Could Affect Healthcare

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How Filling Empty Supreme Court Seat Could Affect Healthcare

2020-09-23 12:14:19

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Mitch McConnell (Image source: Screenshot)

The country was stunned when it was announced late Friday that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away. She left quite a legacy, one which promised equality for everyone.

However, with her gone, while it would seem that she should be replaced with a like-minded individual to continue her work, that may not happen. Republicans are intent on replacing her as quickly as possible in case Donald Trump doesn't win reelection and also with their hope that it could lead to more people voting for him.

But there are more things at stake than just politics. There are ethics cases, such as abortion rights, that hang in the balance. Donald Trump had made it clear when he took office that he would bring in justices that would vote down Roe v. Wade, and he has.

There are many, many other things that hang in the balance, but one of them of great importance right now is the Affordable Care Act. Trump was intent on removing and replacing it at the beginning of his term, and so far, he has been successful. The case will be reaching the Supreme Court, and if he places someone with his beliefs in Ginsburg's now-vacated seat, ACA will be no more.

This is where Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) place greater emphasis on getting a win than on people's lives. They want to strike down the right for all citizens to have affordable healthcare when we're in the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis.

Trump has bragged about his record of turning judicial seats. One in four is Trump-appointed. Two of the justices on the Supreme Court are his as well. Now he wants to be greedy and put a third in there. He mentioned former Jimmy Carter never had the chance to appoint a justice, then said he didn't deserve it.

Let's take a look at what will happen to eliminate ACA at this point. The U.S. has lived with a decade of the Affordable Care Act. Without it, life would not go back to the way it was before.

Yet, Trump has no other health care plan ready to replace it. He's been promising it for four years, but no one has seen it. He tried to throw it out in 2017 but could not get the votes. He's done what he could to strip as much power away from it as he could.

A lower court has already thrown out ACA. That has sent it to the Supreme court. The justices are due to hear it after the election. With the current eight seats, if it's a tie vote, the ruling will resort to the lower court's. If a conservative judge is pushed through for the purposes of voting against it, it's gone.

Although, maybe that won't be the case. Trump has held up cases that go against him for years in court. This summer he lost his bid to keep his financial records to himself. The Supreme Court ruled against him, yet he's still fighting it in court. Maybe that could happen with ACA as well.

To make all these matters worse, we're in the middle of a health and economic crisis. What is going to happen is there are millions without health care?

People who have depended on ACA for health care will have none. This is despite them landing in hospitals and needing expensive health care with ventilators. But they won't be able to afford that care. It has already been said that health care workers are deciding which patients to prioritize for the ventilators. Will those without health care not be able to have the life-saving measures of a ventilator?

Certainly, this won't help the economy. Without affordable health care, people will be spending their life savings. People without a job who have lost their health care will have no other options: go into financial ruin or save their lives.

And all of this is out of a vendetta of Trump's to best former President Barack Obama. He has made it his work to destroy everything that his predecessor accomplished, including ACA, which has been dubbed Obamacare. Yet, Trump has no Trumpcare to replace it. The country will do without, leading to more deaths and a more dire economy. 

This is just not the time to strike down health care. Make it through the pandemic, get the vaccines going, start pumping that life-saving juice into every arm in the country. Then revisit the topic of ACA. And that will be plenty of time to find a new health care plan. But now is not the time.

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