AUGUSTA — Earlier this month, Mainers started a voting season in contrast to some other. In an effort to guard our public well being infrastructure throughout a world pandemic, roughly 40 % of Mainers have now forged their votes for president and senate candidates via absentee and early voting.
But in Washington D.C., the Senate majority is speeding via a nomination for a brand new Supreme Court docket justice – simply over two weeks earlier than the Court docket hears a case that has the potential to overturn the healthcare that thousands and thousands of People depend on.
The Reasonably priced Care Act (ACA) has been the most important development for ladies’s well being and sexual and reproductive well being in a technology. All vital system modifications want ongoing enchancment, but this landmark laws has remodeled well being entry, high quality, and fairness for thousands and thousands of People. In Maine, 120,000 Mainers have protection via the ACA – 62,900 have MaineCare protection because of Medicaid growth, enacted via the ACA, and one other 62,000 have protection via the ACA Market. The hurt will fall disproportionately to ladies and to Black, brown, Indigenous, and folks of shade, as all have greater charges of poverty and low-wage employment and usually tend to qualify for Medicaid (and the related growth beneath the ACA).
Now, whereas over 1 / 4 million ballots have already been forged in Maine, this entry is on the road. The Supreme Court docket is about to listen to arguments in Texas v. California on November 10, and the result might repeal the regulation, turning again the clock on thousands and thousands of People who rely on the ACA for protection. Along with ending entry for 120,000 Mainers, the top of the ACA might imply the top of protections for pre-existing situations. Which means throughout a world pandemic, many thousands and thousands of individuals can be contaminated with COVID-19, and insurers might drive them to pay greater premiums or deny them altogether.
As a substitute of specializing in COVID aid, the Senate majority is speeding to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat with a justice who will virtually actually sit on the bench throughout this pivotal case. So the place does Choose Barrett stand? In 2012, Barrett publicly criticized the Supreme Court docket determination that upheld the regulation, writing, “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Reasonably priced Care Act past its believable that means to avoid wasting the statute.” In 2015, on a crucial 6-3 Supreme Court docket determination, Barrett agreed with the dissenters who would have put an finish to a core element of the ACA, saying in an interview, “I believe the dissent has the higher of the authorized arguments.” Throughout her affirmation listening to, she refused to immediately reply questions on these remarks, however she did sign she believes the ACA’s particular person mandate is unconstitutional – the precise subject earlier than the court docket on Nov. 10.
This isn’t solely a couple of truthful and simply judicial system, however a couple of truthful and simply course of. By no means earlier than has a president made a Supreme Court docket nomination, or a Senate confirmed a nomination, whereas so many ballots have been already forged. By no means earlier than has a world pandemic raged whereas federal aid is stalled and healthcare entry for thousands and thousands is on the road. Maine’s senators have each acknowledged that the winner of the Nov. 3 election ought to make the appointment. We need to them to advocate for a good course of, and one which honors the choices of Maine’s voters, in addition to their well being.
The Senate is scheduled vote on this nomination on Monday Oct. 26, one of many quickest nominations in US historical past. If it goes via, many people can be waiting for the election subsequent month and to the oral arguments the next week to seek out some solutions about how lengthy Mainers should watch for common entry to well being care. Whereas not common, the ACA has been a crucial supply of well being care protection for disenfranchised communities, and gives protections similar to life-saving preventive companies and immunizations with out cost-sharing necessities. Throughout a public well being disaster – whereas individuals are shedding employment and associated well being care, grappling with a illness with doubtlessly deadly or lifelong results, and are scuffling with balancing their roles as caregivers, employees, and residents – this must be the very last thing in our minds. Mainers deserve higher than this illegitimate course of, and we should make our voices heard via our votes.
— Particular to the Press Herald