This election season has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and there are many issues which depend on the outcome of races up and down the ballot. However, as our country continues to suffer from the health and economic consequences of COVID-19, one stands out today more than most: health care.
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, extending health care to 20 million Americans who did not previously have it. The ACA is far from perfect, but it has certainly helped us make progress toward the goal of affordable health care for all. Despite many repeated attempts by Republicans to repeal and undermine it, it has remained mostly intact. This fall, however, it faces a threat that it may not be able to survive.
The Trump administration, along with 18 state attorneys general (including Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes), are suing to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The consequences that this decision would hold cannot possibly be understated.
In the middle of a raging viral pandemic, up to 20 million people would lose their health care coverage, protections for preexisting conditions would be gone, and the Medicaid expansion that the majority of Utahns voted for in 2018 would be in serious jeopardy. This would mean that every single person in our state and our country who has contracted COVID-19 over the past seven months would be able to be denied coverage for the rest of their lives because of it.
Unlike the previous attempts to unravel the ACA, this is one is very likely to go through. With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court is set to rule one of two ways: If the Senate is unable to confirm Amy Coney Barrett before the case is heard Nov. 10, the court is likely to reach a 4-4 decision, which would leave in place the lower court’s ruling, which struck down the ACA. If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed before Nov. 10 and hears arguments on the case, we will probably see a 5-4 ruling against the ACA, striking it down.
Either way the scenario plays out, we will most likely see the end of the Affordable Care Act as we know it, with the disastrous consequences mentioned earlier. Millions of Americans, including many Utahns, will lose their health care, and preexisting conditions will no longer be protected.
Reyes is one of the people spearheading this effort to take away health care from millions in the middle of a pandemic. He has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t view himself as a public servant whose duty is to fight for the people of Utah, but as Donald Trump and the national GOP’s lapdog.
On top of that, as Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox continues to fail on COVID-19 response and puts Utahns' health at risk. He’s still supporting Trump and the GOP in their crusade to take away health care. Reyes, Cox and Trump don’t care if you lose your health care, because they know that this decision will never personally affect them. They have top-notch health care, so what does it matter to them if people like you and I aren’t able to get it?
The solution? Let’s teach them all a lesson at the ballot box. Vote Joe Biden for president, Greg Skordas for attorney general, Chris Peterson for governor, and for Democrats up and down the ballot who will be on your side. That is truly our only shot at fighting back against this blatant attack on the health care of millions of Americans.
Ben Anderson, Ogden, is a political science major at Weber State University. He is actively involved in politics and is currently the vice president of the WSU College Democrats.