Don’t Let Ernst’s Support For a Supreme Court Nominee Put our Health Care at Risk

By Ashley Vanorny, Cedar Rapids City Councilmember, District 5

Photo: Shutterstock

As a lifelong resident of Cedar Rapids who is studying for her degree in health care administration from Des Moines University while also serving on the City Council, I know what health care protections mean to Iowans. It’s why I believe health care is a right and not a privilege.

When I heard that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away, I was devastated. I know what Justice Ginsburg did for women like me, and there is a direct through-line between her fight for women’s rights and my ability to become the second-youngest person to serve Iowa’s second-largest city.

Her perseverance, intelligence, grace, and wit earned her a rightful place on the Supreme Court. It was all the more disturbing to see Senator Ernst say that she would move forward quickly with the nomination process, despite Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish that her successor be decided by the next president.

We know that Supreme Court nomination fights can get political. But it’s important for a senator like Joni Ernst to keep her focus on how this fight will affect Iowans. We know from statements he has made that President Donald Trump will nominate a judge whose first task will be to dismantle health care protections and jeopardize any coverage of preexisting conditions.

We are in the middle of a pandemic that has taken the lives of so many of our fellow Iowans and caused the suffering of so many others. If you are one of the nearly 97,000 Iowans who have contracted COVID-19 or know a friend or family member who has, you should be worried about Ernst’s support for this nominee to the Supreme Court.

We don’t know what the long term effects of COVID-19 are and what that could mean for denying people coverage based on preexisting conditions. And if you have recently lost your job because of the pandemic and are worried about losing your employer-sponsored health insurance, you should be worried about how hard it will be to get adequate health insurance if the current health care protections are dismantled. If you are a senior covered under Medicare and worried about the cost of your prescription drugs and premiums going up, you should be worried as well.

In a study done before the pandemic, the Center for American Progress found that 187,000 Iowans would lose their coverage if the Affordable Care Act was overturned by the Supreme Court, and another 1.3 million with pre-existing conditions would face higher premiums, diminished coverage or an inability to buy insurance on the open market. In short, this Supreme Court nomination has very real consequences for Iowans.

As Sen. Ernst herself said, “The Supreme Court plays a fundamental role in the defense of our Constitution and in the protection of our rights and liberties.” But if Ernst votes to confirm President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, she will be dealing a fatal blow to those rights by voting to overturn health care protections in Iowa in the midst of a deadly pandemic. The people impacted the most must hold her accountable.

We have the power in Des Moines to vote Joni Ernst out this November 3. Let’s show Washington that we will fight to protect our health care and the protections it now offers in covering pre-existing conditions. Make your plan to vote and stay safe.