Some North Carolinians worry about Supreme Court nominee’s impact on ACA

Capitol Report

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As the hearings began Monday for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, some North Carolinians raised concerns about the potential impacts on the Affordable Care Act, as the nation’s highest court prepares to hear a case related to that next month. 

Caroline Fisher of Wilmington said she and her husband started their small business Swahili Coast in 2014 in part because the ACA helped them to be able to afford health insurance.  

“And now we are a small employer in North Carolina, providing jobs for people. And, small businesses are a vital part of our economy in North Carolina, and it’s critical we continue to support them,” she said. 

Fisher said she’s developed a neurological condition that requires testing and treatment, which her insurance plan has helped to cover the costs. 

“It’s truly scary to think about losing my health insurance as far as not being covered for pre-existing conditions,” she said. “We are hearing from some members of Congress that any plan to replace the ACA would include pre-existing conditions coverage. However, we haven’t ever seen any plans.” 

The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the case of Texas v. California on Nov. 10, one week after the election. 

Democrats spent part of Monday’s hearing arguing that President Donald Trump is seeking to place Barrett on the court with the goal of overturning the Affordable Care Act.  

Though Barrett has previously criticized a Supreme Court ruling which upheld the ACA, Republicans argued it’s not clear how Barrett would rule in this specific case and whether that ruling would ultimately overturn the ACA. 

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and is in a competitive race for re-election against Democrat Cal Cunningham. 

Tillis accused Democrats of being “engaged in fearmongering and described Judge Barrett’s nomination as an end to healthcare, abortion rights, labor rights, and the list goes on and on and on.” 

During Monday’s hearing, Tillis said, “These statements are unfair and they’re untrue. This week they’ll attempt to have Judge Barrett commit to policy outcomes rather than do the work for that policy outcome in the U.S. Senate.” 

Tillis and other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have said they support protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but Republicans have not come together on a plan to replace the ACA if it is ultimately overturned. 

Cunningham has said he would meet with Barrett if he were in the Senate, but he’s opposed to moving forward with a vote on her confirmation, saying that should wait until after the election when the voters have decided who will be president.  

In a post on Medium published Monday, Cunningham wrote, “Rather than listen to and respect the people of our state, Senator Tillis has once again caved to partisan and party interests — a recurring pattern in his public life, even when it is wrong for North Carolina. Instead of acting as a check and balance on this Administration, Senator Tillis has delivered a blank check to the White House, signed in the name of the people of North Carolina.” 

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