Senators Collins, Ernst, Gardner, McSally, and Sullivan’s sudden opposition to Trump’s ACA repeal lawsuit doesn’t excuse long record of support
Yesterday, Senate Republicans greenlit President Donald Trump’s long standing wish to “terminate” access to affordable care and protections for those with preexisting conditions despite repeated claims and campaign ads in support of these very protections. Their vote blocked a bill that would have prevented Attorney General Bill Barr and the Justice Department from using taxpayer funding to support President Trump’s lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Majority leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues added to their long record of opposition to the health care law. A law whose repeal would create chaos across the entire system, cost over 20 million their health coverage and over 130 million with preexisting conditions — including those who contracted the coronavirus — access to affordable care, Seniors would see drug costs soar, women would be charged more than men for insurance just for being women, and the wealthiest Americans would receive another massive tax cut.
Despite McConnell and most of his caucus’s vote, six Senate Republicans, Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Joni Ernst, Martha McSally, and Dan Sullivan (Lindey Graham was absent), voted with their Democratic colleagues or not at all on the measure in the hope it might improve their reelection chances in November, and give them enough cover to help confirm the president’s Supreme Court nominee who was picked in large part due to her stated opposition to the ACA’s survival in previous lawsuits and is opposed by 400 public health experts and professionals.
But their record remains. Collins, Ernst, Gardner, Graham, McSally and Sullivan together have voted a total of 50 times to eliminate or diminish protections for those with preexisting conditions.
This hypocrisy is why Republicans lost the House in 2018 and why voters do not trust their efforts to push through a lifetime appointment that would put Americans’ health care at risk in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed over 200,000 in the U.S.
Yesterday’s vote was the latest attack on the ACA, but make no mistake, their vote to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, who is an aimed missile at the law, could very well result in serious political consequences given the law’s increasing popularity, now that more than 3 out of 5 view the law in favorable terms, a 15 point increase since May 2019.