With the sudden and devastating death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18 due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, a new sense of terror and urgency is added to a prevalent issue: healthcare. Specifically, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On November 10, exactly one week after Election Day, the Supreme Court is set to again review the constitutionality of the ACA in the case of California v. Texas.
In the lower courts, a federal appeals court ruled on a case that was started by a group of Republican state officials and fervently supported by both Trump and his administration and declared that because the Republican-dominated Congress lowered the mandate tax penalty to zero in 2017, the ACA's minimum essential coverage provision — referred to as the individual mandate — was unconstitutional in nature as the individual mandate was no longer a tax.
Because of this reasoning, the Trump administration wishes to make invalid the entirety of the ACA.
Prior to Ginsburg's death, this lawsuit had little chance of succeeding. However, the Supreme Court vacancy, which Trump wishes to promptly fill with a conservative justice, has made it so that the ACA's very existence is at stake. Along with Chief Justice John Roberts, Ginsburg had voted in favor of preserving the ACA in the past, but there may not be the votes to uphold the ACA if Trump replaces her prior to the election.
As someone who at times grew up alongside unemployed parents, I know all too well the burden of not having adequate healthcare.
I found myself in and out of hospitals in my junior year of high school after discovering a tumor located in my left breast. However, the cost of the various visits and examinations proved very costly and I still haven't had it removed years later. Life without healthcare and the support it provides is difficult, sometimes impossible.
If Trump succeeds in replacing Ginsburg and the ACA is ruled unconstitutional, the effects will be astronomical. Tens of millions of Americans will be directly impacted. The Medicaid expansion will be nullified. Many individuals who have or are at risk of having pre-existing conditions will be forced to pay extortionate amounts or be outrightly denied coverage.
The threat of ACA's destruction has galvanized Democratic voters.
Democrats raised $71 million in the hours after Ginsburg's death to combat Trump and his administration in the upcoming election. In my opinion, that's not enough — we must act.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, unlike Trump, has used his platform to bring awareness to the dangers of suspending the ACA in the middle of a pandemic that has resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, emphasizing how vulnerable and susceptible our population will be should the ACA be ruled unconstitutional. Biden has established a plan that seeks to protect and expand the ACA.
Ensure you are registered to vote and vote. Lives are at stake.