Durbin: The Affordable Care Act Is At Stake With This Supreme Court Vacancy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today warned that the future of the Affordable Care Act is at stake with the Supreme Court vacancy following the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin noted that President Donald Trump has made clear that he wants to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act.  That is the position the Trump Administration has taken before the Supreme Court in a case that will be argued on November 10, 2020—one week following Election Day.  In 2015, President Trump tweeted, “If I win the presidency, my judicial appointments will do the right thing unlike Bush's appointee John Roberts on ObamaCare.” 

Durbin also slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) announcement that he will defy Justice Ginsburg’s fervent wish and attempt to fill her Supreme Court seat this year, hypocritically breaking his own rule that “the American people should have a voice” in filling Supreme Court vacancies in presidential election years.

“Let’s be clear: the Affordable Care Act is hanging in the balance… the health care coverage and protections for pre-existing conditions that millions of American families rely on are at risk,” Durbin said.  “They’re [Senate Republicans] trying to accomplish on the Supreme Court what they cannot accomplish in Congress.  If President Trump and Senator McConnell go through with their plan to jam through a Supreme Court nominee this year, the Affordable Care Act is doomed.”

During his floor speech, Durbin shared the stories of two Illinois constituents whose families rely on the Affordable Care Act for quality, affordable health insurance and protections for pre-existing conditions.  Amy from Huntley, Illinois, relies on the Affordable Care Act’s elimination of annual and lifetime limits, which had previously been imposed by health insurance companies.  And Misty from Gurnee, Illinois, relies on the Affordable Care Act in order to have coverage for her prescription medications due to the health and economic toll on her family from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most families, my own included, have been through this.  I know the sleepless nights when you worry as to whether or not you have health insurance.  I know what it means to be the father of a new baby with serious medical conditions and have no health insurance at all.  I faced it, and I will never forget it,” Durbin said.  “I will never forget the families who sent me to Washington to remember them as well.  This is about more than who gets bragging rights politically at the end of the day.  It is about the right of every American family to have peace of mind of quality, affordable, accessible health insurance coverage.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.