2020 Election Live Updates: Trump Will Hit the Trail as the Barrett Hearings Begin

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Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The event that conservatives hoped would reshape the 2020 election is upon us: The Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett begin Monday at 9 a.m. Eastern time and promise to last most of the week. Republicans have regarded her nomination as an opportunity to reinvigorate voters on the right and refocus the broader electorate on matters other than the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, Judge Barrett’s appointment has not worked out that way. The White House event at which President Trump announced her election became a major transmission point for the coronavirus — Dr. Anthony S. Fauci called it a “super-spreader event” — and at least two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have been infected. Mr. Trump’s bout with the disease, and rising case counts across most of the country, have relegated the Supreme Court fight to the political background for most of the last few weeks.

There is still hope within the G.O.P. that Democrats might fumble the hearings in a way that could be politically useful to them — a concern some Democrats share, given the apparently diminished capacities of Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the panel that will screen the nomination. And at the very least, the hearings give Republicans something to talk about besides Mr. Trump and the virus, even if that is where most voters remain focused. That could be no small favor in red states where Senate seats are at stake.

It is unlikely, however, that Mr. Trump will cooperate with efforts to shift the spotlight this week. He is due on Monday to campaign in Florida, making his first in-person appearance outside Washington since he tested positive for the coronavirus. The president’s insistence on returning to the campaign trail while there are still huge unanswered questions about his medical condition, including about the continued presence of the coronavirus in his body and his ability to transmit it to others, has the potential to become a bigger story than the opening stages of the judicial confirmation process.

That may be doubly the case if Mr. Trump and his supporters continue their practice of flouting basic public-health guidelines for large events, as has been their tendency up to this point.

The question for Democrats — not just Joseph R. Biden Jr. but the party’s whole ticket — may be how much time and political capital they will put into making a strenuous public case against Judge Barrett, at a moment when Mr. Trump continues to serve up generous quantities of easier political fodder for the election that is only weeks away.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Fears for Obamacare if Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to supreme court

This month, Congress is expected to begin confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s nominee for the supreme court, Amy Coney Barrett. If confirmed, she could be the decisive vote in a case being heard days after the election, which seeks to strike down the landmark Affordable Care Act – a move that could leave millions of Americans without healthcare in the middle of a pandemic.

Barack Obama wearing a suit and tie: Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Barack Obama wearing a suit and tie: Obamacare, Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform, has been in place for 10 years and underpins much of the country’s healthcare system.

© Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Obamacare, Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform, has been in place for 10 years and underpins much of the country’s healthcare system.

Related: Amy Coney Barrett: what will she mean for women’s rights?


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Trump has pledged to kill the ACA since day one of his presidency, but despite comments to the contrary he has no official plan to replace the healthcare reform law, commonly known as Obamacare. Without it, 20 million Americans could lose their health insurance.

Joe Biden opened the presidential debate on Tuesday night by warning about the threat posed by Trump: “He’s in the supreme court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.”

Sabrina Corlette, co-director of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University, said if Coney Barrett is confirmed, “it dramatically increases the chances that the ACA will be struck down.”

“That said, because there are so many conservative legal scholars that have said this is a ridiculous, meritless lawsuit, one can only hope and pray she’s in that camp,” she said.

Obamacare has been in place for 10 years and underpins much of the country’s healthcare system. Without it, things such as protections for people with pre-existing conditions would disappear.

Before Obamacare, millions of Americans who had cancer, multiple sclerosis or other diseases could be denied healthcare coverage because of their condition. At least 54 million people have a pre-existing condition which would have been deniable before the ACA.

People who contract Covid-19 could also be denied coverage, be charged higher premiums, or have future treatment for coronavirus turned down.

Video: Trump’s executive order on healthcare protects people with pre-existing conditions: Azar (FOX News)

Trump’s executive order on healthcare protects people with pre-existing conditions: Azar



Laura Packard, a healthcare advocate and cancer survivor, said she was concerned about losing health insurance because of her pre-existing condition.

Packard was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, three years ago and has watched as the Republican party fought against the healthcare law she credits with saving her from drowning in medical debt. She is currently in remission, but she is self-employed and has healthcare through the ACA marketplace.

“If my cancer comes back, it will be hundreds of thousands of dollars to save my life,” Packard said. “That’s money I don’t have.”

The supreme court, however, is not guaranteed to rule against Obamacare even with a conservative majority.

Central to the case is whether the individual mandate, which requires people to have health insurance, is constitutional. If