Senate Democrats were united in driving home one message in the opening day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing that her confirmation could threaten the future of the Affordable Care Act.
In a series of opening statements Monday, Democrats stuck to a script that was crafted by members of leadership and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden weeks ago, a message that Democrats hope will win them political support at the polls even if it cannot keep Barrett off the bench.
“Republicans finally realized the ACA is too popular to repeal in Congress, so now they are trying to bypass the will of voters and have the Supreme Court do their dirty work,” Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said during her remarks. “If Republicans succeed in striking down the ACA, insurance companies will be able to deny coverage to children with serious conditions.”
Every single Democrat on the committee brought with them a photograph and a story of at least one constituent for whom the ACA had made a difference.
“Children like Myka,” Harris said—speaking about an 11-year-old Southern California girl who Harris showed in a photo next to her.
Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, talked about constituents “Merritt and Michelle.”
“They know what a future without the ACA looks like. It looks like 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions — from cancer survivors to people with disabilities — being charged more or denied coverage completely. It looks like 20 million people losing their access to potentially life-saving care in the middle of a pandemic that has killed over 214,000 Americans,” Booker said.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, said people in his state are afraid of what Barrett’s confirmation could mean for health care.
"They're scared, Judge Barrett. They're scared that your confirmation would rip from them the very healthcare protections that millions of Americans have fought to maintain, and which Congress has repeatedly rejected eliminating,” Leahy said.
An aide to the committee told CNN that after multiple member-level discussions, members of the committee agreed that not only health care, but the personal stories of people across the country would be the most effective strategy for day one.