U.S. President Donald Trump aimed at Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, on Sunday a day after he announced another conservative nominee for the Supreme Court.
“Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court,” tweeted Trump, referring to his own health care plan unveiled several days ago.
The president said on Saturday that he’s nominating conservative federal appellate judge Amy Coney Barrett for the high court to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Barrett, who’s poised to be confirmed by the Republican-led Senate, would expand a conservative majority to 6-3 at the Supreme Court, triggering concern from Democrats that it would rule to strike down Obamacare, a comprehensive health care reform law enacted by then-President Barack Obama in 2010.
Trump has long criticized healthcare costs and coverage under Obamacare and has vowed to repeal and replace it since his 2016 campaign.
During the past few years, Republicans on Capitol Hill moved to kill Obamacare but failed to gain enough traction. Trump himself has signed several executive orders in a bid to deliver his promise while legal battles over the health care law continue in court.
The Supreme Court is set to consider a challenge to the law immediately after the Nov. 3 presidential election.
“President Trump has been trying to throw out the Affordable Care Act for four years. The Republican Party has been trying to eliminate it for a decade,” 2020 Democratic presidential nominee and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted on Sunday that he believes “a vote by any Senator for Judge Barrett is a vote to take away health care and eliminate protections for millions with pre-existing conditions.”
Supporters of Obamacare have pointed to Barrett’s criticism of Supreme Court ruling in 2012 upholding the law.
In a 2017 law review article, the Notre Dame law professor accused Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative who provided the deciding vote in favor of the law, of pushing “the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”
As Republicans, who have a 53-47 advantage in the Senate and are largely united in this Supreme Court confirmation fight, are moving to fast track the process for Barrett, Democrats have suggested health care will be a dominant part of the conversation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will start hearings for Barrett on Oct. 12, according to Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, paving the way for a full floor vote shortly before Election Day.
“We’ll start on the 12th, we’ll have four days of hearings and then we’ll hold over the nomination for a week … and hopefully we’ll come to the floor around the 26th,” Graham told Fox News on Saturday.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told ABC News on Sunday that Democrats could slow down the confirmation of Barrett “perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at most” but they “can’t stop the outcome,” while acknowledging his caucus has “no procedural silver bullet” to delay the battle beyond the election.
Trump successfully appointed two conservatives on the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, tilting the institution to the right with a 5-4 majority. Barrett, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the youngest member of the nine-justice bench at age 48 and likely serve for decades to come.