By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is a “torpedo” aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act.
In a Facebook campaign event, Alabama’s Democratic senator said he is very concerned about the potential loss of the Affordable Care Act as it faces a Supreme Court test. He said Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is aimed at securing the act’s end.
“This is not about Roe versus Wade or guns as much as it is your health care for people in this country and people in Alabama,” Jones said. “This nomination is nothing more than a torpedo being fired by the Trump administration to blow up the Affordable Care Act, something that they could not do legislatively.”
A week after the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a bid by the Trump administration and Republican-led states to overturn former President Barack Obama’s health care law. Barrett could take part if she is confirmed and takes the place of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Barrett, a conservative, has been critical of Justice John Roberts’ opinion in 2012 upholding “Obamacare” while Ginsburg was one of the five votes in the decision.
Jones recapped some of the provisions of the ACA — such as protections for preexisting conditions, improved coverage and allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26 — that have benefited Alabamians and people across the country.
“Your coverage is at risk, folks. Your health is at risk, and they are doing it in the worst health crisis we have seen in 100 years,” Jones said.
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 957,000 nonelderly adults in Alabama have a preexisting condition and are currently protected from having their health coverage denied under the ACA.
Jones added that almost 150,000 Alabamians get their insurance from exchanges set up by the ACA and most of those receive tax credits or a subsidy to help purchase that coverage.
The ACA requires plans to cover many preventative services and prohibits lifetime caps, Jones said. If the act is overturned, he said, “All of that goes away and puts it all back in the hands of the big insurance companies. We will be at their mercy without this law.”
Often called the most endangered Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Jones faces a tough reelection bid against Republican Tommy Tuberville.
Tuberville has expressed his support for Barrett’s nomination.
“Her nomination opens the door to protecting unborn life, preserving our Second Amendment gun rights, and securing the religious freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution,” Tuberville said in a statement last month.
Jones also expressed frustration over the stalling of a second COVID-19 stimulus bill, saying people and businesses need relief.
“People have been asking for this for months. We’ve seen the suffering that is going on out there,” he said.
While Jones said he was glad that Trump was recovering from COVID-19, he also expressed worry that Trump’s comments that people shouldn’t fear the illness could lead his supporters to disregard health care guidance.
“No one of the health care professionals have said this is not a dangerous virus,” Jones said.