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2020 is going to be a health care election

Dear Editor:

We’re in the middle of an unprecedented public health crisis, and that’s going to determine how people will choose their leaders. But Martha McSally and Donald Trump are risking undermining the entire federal response to coronavirus if they choose a Supreme Court Justice that will repeal the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions.

Shamefully only hours after the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Trump and McSally made clear that they intend to appoint a new justice. The nominee’s stance on the Affordable Care Act must be a litmus test in voting for the next Supreme Court justice

If that justice votes to uphold that lawsuit, not only will the 3 million Arizonans with pre-existing conditions lose their coverage or face astronomical premiums, but millions more will lose critical benefits we’ve come to expect over the past decade. Young people who are struggling to find work during this economic downturn won’t be able to stay on their parents insurance. Hundreds of thousands of low-income Arizonans will lose access to the state’s Medicaid coverage. Seniors will see their prescription drug costs increase by potentially thousands of dollars a year.

And that doesn’t even include the long-term consequences of COVID-19.

Over the past seven months, I’ve have watched cases surge, dissipate, surge again, dissipate and then increase steadily. Hopefully, prognosticators are wrong and there isn’t a major resurgence this fall as the cooler months approach and people spend more time indoors.

Over 6,000 Arizonans have died from COVID, out of the nearly 300,000 confirmed cases. We have no idea what the long-term consequences of the disease are for those who have survived it, but there are horror stories about people suffering from heart and lung problems months after contracting the disease.

That means that insurers will consider COVID a pre-existing condition. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) bans insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions: those who suffer from pre-existing conditions can’t be denied coverage and they can’t be charged higher premiums.

Trump and McSally know that their joint health care record is their biggest vulnerability: Arizonans fundamentally think insurers shouldn’t be able to punish people for pre-existing health conditions beyond their control.

Word of advice to the President and especially to Arizona’s appointed Senator, if the next Supreme Court justice doesn’t unconditionally support protecting pre-existing conditions and upholding the health care law of the land, Arizonans will remember in November and mark their ballot for Joe Biden and Mark Kelly.
Gregory Jarrin, MD


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