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ICYMI: The Future of Health Care is at Stake

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 22, 2020
CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Votes Media Office; 212-261-4433; [email protected]
Planned Parenthood Votes Pressroom

The Passing of Justice Ginsburg Boost Efforts to Strike Down the ACA and Strip Health Coverage for Millions of People

Washington, DC — With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, access to health care coverage, including for sexual and reproductive health care, for millions of people is at stake. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments the week after election day in a case brought by Republican Attorneys General attempting to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Without Justice Ginsburg, if the court is evenly split 4-4, the Court of Appeals’ ruling, which did not definitively rule to protect the health care of millions of people, would stand.

Statement from Jenny Lawson, executive director, Planned Parenthood Votes:

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, your health care is at stake. The relentless attacks from the Trump administration on the Affordable Care Act, amidst a global pandemic were already unconscionable. Now, the Supreme Court is poised to strike down the entire ACA — this generation's biggest advancement for women’s health and for sexual and reproductive health. Planned Parenthood Votes is working around the clock to ensure voters understand what’s at stake in this election."

Eliminating the ACA would cause tens of millions of people to lose their health insurance and eliminate critical protections that have improved health care access for people across this country, including, but not limited to:

  • Protections for people with preexisting conditions, including things like pregnancy and survival of domestic violence;
  • Medicaid expansion, which has expanded health coverage to millions of people, many of whom are women of color, and which is the biggest source of coverage for reproductive health in the country;
  • Mandated coverage for pregnancy, labor, and delivery, which prior to the ACA could cost tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket; 
  • Guaranteed birth control coverage with no out-of-pocket costs, ensuring birth control coverage for more than 60 million;
  • Prohibitions on charging women more for health care and protections against sex discrimination in health care; 
  • Allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26.

Read more:

Washington Post: How Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death Could Jeopardize the Affordable Care Act

By Amy Goldstein, September 19th, 2020

  • The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg injects fresh uncertainty into the future of the Affordable Care Act, as the Supreme Court prepares to consider anew the constitutionality of the law that has reshaped the United States’ health-care system in the past decade.
  • “Ginsburg’s death is the nightmare scenario for the Affordable Care Act,” said Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor who supports the law. “If the suit had a trivial chance of success yesterday, it has a new lease on life.”
  • The newest legal challenge comes as polls were showing health care was a dominant issue in the November elections, even before the coronavirus pandemic removed millions of Americans’ jobs and health insurance and elevated people’s worries about whether they would have coverage if they got sick.

Vox: What Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death means for the Supreme Court’s Obamacare case

By Dylan Scott, September 18, 2020

  • Ginsburg, who was appointed to the Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and served until her death on Friday, voted to uphold the law in 2012. Along with the three other liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts, she saved Obamacare then from a legal challenge that would have invalidated the law entirely.
  • It was assumed in Washington, up until Friday, that Obamacare would probably be safe because the same five votes that preserved it in 2012 were still on the bench. But now, with Ginsburg’s death, that is no longer true. There is a lot of uncertainty about what happens next, but the bottom line is this: The ACA is much more at risk of being overturned today than it was the day before.
  • Legal experts have long been dubious about the merits of the lawsuit. But right now, in the hours after the world learned Ginsburg had died, the future looks a little less certain.

NPR: The Future Of The Affordable Care Act In A Supreme Court Without Ginsburg

By Julie Rovner, September 21, 2020

  • Democrats are raising alarms about the future of the law without Ginsburg. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking on ABC's This Week Sunday morning, said that part of the strategy by President Trump and Senate Republicans to quickly fill Ginsburg's seat is to help undermine the ACA.
  • Ginsburg's death throws an already chaotic general election campaign during a pandemic into more turmoil. But in the longer term, her absence from the bench could accelerate a trend underway to get certain cases to the Supreme Court with the aim of invalidating the ACA.
  • But without Ginsburg, the case could wind up in a 4-4 tie, even if Roberts supports the law's constitutionality. That could let the lower-court ruling stand, although it would not be binding on other courts outside the 5th Circuit. 

Axios: If Trump replaces Ginsburg, the ACA really is at risk

By Sam Baker, September 21, 2020

  • The Supreme Court vacancy created by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death leaves the Affordable Care Act in much greater jeopardy than it was just a few days ago.
  • The court is slated to hear oral arguments the week after the election. If there’s a new conservative justice on the bench by then, the ACA would be in immediate danger.
  • The bottom line: A lawsuit that once seemed like a long shot now has a much more reasonable chance at success — and that means 20 million people’s health coverage really could be in the balance.

Arizona Family: Affordable Care Act recipients nervous about Supreme Court nomination fight

By Dennis Welch, September 21, 2020

  • "The ACA is a tool that we have gotten in the last decade that has really been able to help people with disabilities get above poverty. It's not just about our health, it's about our quality of life," said Castillo, who also suffers from an autoimmune disease.
  • The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has opened up a vacancy on the high court that could determine the future of the ACA, also known as "ObamaCare."
  • When asked if a nominee's stance on ObamaCare would be a litmus test in voting for the next supreme court justice, McSally's campaign said, "I look forward to receiving the president's nominee and commit to thoughtfully evaluate the individual based on her track record of applying laws as Congress writes them and upholding the Founders' design to interpret the Constitution as written."


Planned Parenthood Votes is an independent expenditure political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.