Courts Health On the Hill

Supreme Court Hearings on Affordable Care Act Endanger Women’s Health

The Supreme Court has been hearing oral arguments regarding the legality of the Affordable Care Act this week, which puts about 32 million people’s (a majority of whom are women) healthcare coverage at risk.

The Affordable Care Act, in addition to providing millions of people with insurance coverage through Medicare and Medicaid, bans sex discrimination in health insurance pricing and benefits, prevents co-pays or deductibles on preventative healthcare (which includes birth control), eliminates discrimination based on preexisting conditions, and bans insurers from dropping coverage because of prenatal and maternity care.

Yesterday, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh made it clear that “Congress’s decision in 2017 to zero-out the penalty for not buying health insurance did not indicate a desire to kill the entire law”. Still, this is the third time the Affordable Care Act has been challenged in the Supreme Court, and the Court’s new composition – namely, the addition of conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett – has supporters of Obamacare worried about its future.

President-elect Joe Biden also spoke on this issue, stating that the Trump administration’s push to invalidate the Affordable Care Act is “simply cruel and needlessly divisive” and would leave 20 million Americans’ healthcare coverage “ripped away in the middle of the nation’s worst pandemic in a century.” He stated, “Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s at stake: The consequences of the Trump administration’s argument are not academic or an abstraction. For many Americans, they are a matter of life and death, in a literal sense…This isn’t hyperbole. It’s real – as real as it gets”. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris echoed this sentiment and stated that this case is “a blatant attempt to overturn the will of the people”.

An attempt to remove the Affordable Care Act is a direct attempt to remove comprehensive reproductive and maternal healthcare from millions of women and people who menstruate.

Sources: Feminist Majority; Washington Post 11/10/20; Feminist Newswire 10/27/20; CNN 11/10/20

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