View full video of the press call here.
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Arizona physicians today called on Sen. Martha McSally to publicly reject Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett for confirmation, citing the threat Barrett represents to healthcare for Arizona families. McSally tweeted an early endorsement of Barrett’s nomination.
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee began confirmation hearings on Barrett today. Physicians in Arizona and other states are raising concerns that legislative and legal attacks against the Affordable Care Act jeopardizes healthcare for millions of Americans, including an estimated 2.8 million Arizonans with preexisting conditions, 214,000 Latinos and 75,000 children.
“While President Trump and his allies may consider Judge Amy Coney Barrett an able jurist, her clear-cut and well-documented biases against federal healthcare protections for Arizona families with preexisting conditions should be a red flag for every senator who claims to champion quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans,” said Dr. Susan Hughes, a family physician in Scottsdale. “As physicians, our No. 1 priority is standing up for our patients, and that includes calling on our elected leaders to stand with us in support of people’s health and safety. Sen. Martha McSally has an opportunity to show Arizonans that she will fight to protect families from predatory insurance companies with a history of discriminating against people with preexisting conditions like diabetes, asthma and possible complications from COVID-19.”
Barrett has publicly voiced opposition to the Affordable Care Act, whose Medicaid expansion provision now covers nearly 500,000 people in Arizona who had been uninsured before the ACA became law.
- In a 2017 article, Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for upholding the ACA’s constitutionality in NFIB v Sebelius, a 2012 challenge to the law.
- She disagreed with the Supreme Court majority decision in King v Burwell, which affirmed the ACA provision that helped people below certain incomes pay for costly insurance premiums.
- Barrett signed a 2012 petition denouncing the ACA provision requiring most employer health insurance plans to include contraception coverage.
Medicaid expansion is one of the ACA’s central and most popular benefits. Nearly 80 percent of Americans want protections for people with preexisting conditions, including 63 percent of Republicans and 78 percent independents.
President Trump nominated Barrett on Sept. 26 to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat after she died just a week earlier. Though McSally is not a member of the Judiciary Committee, she is considered a staunch Trump supporter and will cast a vote on the full Senate floor should Barrett’s nomination clear the Judiciary Committee.
“As physicians, we see up close how COVID-19 devastates people and communities, who need healthcare now more than ever during a deadly pandemic,” said Dr. Lawrence DeLuca, an emergency medicine physician in Sahuarita. “When people can access healthcare without worrying about costs and going bankrupt, they are more likely to see a doctor, stay on their medications and do the things we all need to do to stay healthier and stronger against diseases, especially a disease like COVID-19. Judge Amy Coney Barrett has telegraphed her hostility to a law that provides a healthcare lifeline to countless families, and for that reason, we call on the U.S. Senate and particularly our senator, Martha McSally, to oppose her nomination and reverse her earlier support.”
In COVID-19 survivors, the disease is linked to long-term damage to heart muscles in both older patients as well as healthy youth. Among survivors, researchers are now linking COVID-19 to lung and brain damage and weakened blood vessels that could lead to liver and kidney disease. More than half of the people who survive COVID-19 suffer persistent fatigue.
“Sen. Martha McSally can use her voice in the U.S. Senate to publicly reject Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court and show Arizona that people’s health always comes ahead of partisan ideology and insurance industry profits,” said Dr. Michelle Grua, an anesthesiologist in Flagstaff. “While President Trump has been clear he wants the ACA and its protections for people with preexisting conditions gone, Sen. McSally can show Arizonans her independence. Despite her mixed record on public health, Sen. McSally now has an opportunity to stand above partisanship and do what the late Sen. John McCain did, which is to put people ahead of party.”
- Despite public statements that appear to support healthcare for Arizonans, McSally twice voted on measures that threaten protections for people with preexisting conditions: a 2015 vote to repeal the ACA and a 2017 vote that would have allowed insurance companies to charge people with preexisting conditions higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs, which the ACA currently prohibits.
- McSally introduced a proposal to address COVID-19’s impact by paying Americans to travel and vacation, despite warnings from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay home during the pandemic. A Bloomberg reporter calculated McSally’s COVID-19-related proposal could add hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal deficit.
- In May, Sen. McSally opposed federal relief for Arizona communities as COVID-19 spread rapidly.
- McSally failed to secure 98 percent of the ventilators Arizona requested as concerns grew that COVID-19 would soon fill ICUs in hospitals in the state in April. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey had requested 5,000 ventilators from Trump and McSally got 100.
- In 2017, McSally cut funding for protecting Americans from pandemics and infectious diseases.
McSally continues to refuse to lead on healthcare relief, stating during an interview that it’s not her role to get involved in Trump’s efforts to repeal the ACA.
About the Committee to Protect Medicare
The Committee to Protect Medicare is an advocacy organization made up of frontline doctors engaging in direct advocacy and communications in support of a stronger healthcare system in America. To learn more: http://committeetoprotect.org/
NOTE: The physicians above are speaking in their capacity as members of the Committee to Protect Medicare. They should be identified only as indicated in this news release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 12, 2020
Az Ibrahim, 616-227-1940, firstname.lastname@example.org