Ahead of Tuesday’s presidential debate at the Cleveland Clinic, elected leaders and advocates from across Ohio held a press conference to demand that President Trump and Senator Portman reject Amy Coney Barrett, who is on record about her desire to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which comes before the Supreme Court on November 10. They also released a letter signed by more than 50 elected leaders all across Ohio testifying to their outrage.
A recording of the event is available here. (Password: iR3g&!Ct).
It includes an emotional video of North Royalton mother Jessica Hair sharing her story of how the Affordable Care Act enables her son’s ongoing care at the Cleveland Clinic and her message for President Trump, Senator Portman, and Amy Coney Barrett.
“Our message today is simple: no confirmation until inauguration” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “Senator Portman and his colleagues should be focused on the pandemic that has killed 200,000 Americans and infected 150,000 Ohioans. We have been begging for four months for the Senate to pass a federal stimulus package that helps our small businesses and communities. They can’t move on that, but now, they quickly move on this nomination. We know very clearly what Portman’s priorities and Trump’s priorities are.”
Chris Kang, Chief Counsel of Demand Justice and former Deputy White House Counsel, explained that the Senate has not considered any nomination for a lifetime judgeship this fast in at least 20 years — and now they’re doing it with the Supreme Court. “The American people fought and won the Affordable Care Act, but now the Republicans are trying for the third time to use their courts to strike it down,” he said. “It is not often that we have nominees whose record is so clear. She has made clear that she disagrees with the previous ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act.”
State Rep. Janine Boyd, ranking member on the Ohio House Health committee, catalogued Trump’s repeated lies from 2016 when he campaigned across Ohio claiming he would expand healthcare. “800,000 Ohioans could lose coverage. Insurers could once again deny coverage to the 5 million Ohioans with a pre-existing condition,” she said. “The hits to families just keep coming under this President.”
“This is by my count the third way that Trump, Portman, and Republicans have tried to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, its protections for preexisting conditions, and Medicaid expansion,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. “First, they failed legislatively, with ‘repeal and replace’, despite not once offering an alternative. Next, President Trump tried to issue an executive order sabotaging it, and I’m leading a national lawsuit against that. Now, they’re trying to ram through a Supreme Court nominee to overturn the ACA a few weeks before the election.”
Dr. Catherine Romanos, a family physician in Columbus and activist with the Physicians Action Network, also said her colleagues in the profession fear for their patients. “The middle of a global pandemic is not when you should be decreasing access to healthcare,” she said. “Not only is this pandemic going to go on longer, but we will be taking care of the long-term impacts on Ohioans with COVID for a long time.”
Finally, North Royalton mom Jessica Hair shared her powerful story of how the Affordable Care Act keeps her son alive and allows him to get care at the Cleveland Clinic:
“It is only because of the Affordable Care Act that my husband and I are not bankrupt. Without it, we would have blown through annual and lifetime limits long ago. And my son will live with a preexisting condition his whole life. Without the Affordable Care Act, my family has no option. … In 36 hours, the President will be in the Cleveland Clinic for the debate where my family and my son fight every day, and the President is going to lie about his plans for family like mine. I am asking them to say no.”