Just like a pack of Marlboros, Judge Brett Kavanaugh should carry a big, bold warning label: This judge will be extremely hazardous to Hoosiers’ health.

If Indiana Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, they will be voting against the well-being of millions of people. In particular, their votes will harm those of us who have pre-existing conditions.

If we have health issues such as diabetes, arthritis, or high blood pressure, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) protects us from discrimination. The ACA is not perfect, but it does prevent insurance companies from denying us coverage or charging more because of our health history. That is important, because most Indiana families are impacted by this law: half of our state’s population has a pre-existing condition.

But that protection is being threatened by Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. So is the Healthy Indiana Plan, the ACA-created source of much-needed health care for over 400,000 Hoosiers. That is because Judge Kavanaugh is very likely to fall into line with President Trump’s determined attacks on the Affordable Care Act.

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Those attacks are currently making their way through our court system, as are big-money attempts to undermine bipartisan legislation to lower prescription drug prices. There is an excellent chance that these cases will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. If he is confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh may be the deciding vote. And there is every reason to believe that Judge Kavanaugh will side with the forces that are attacking our access to health care.

Let’s not be fooled by the current playbook for Supreme Court nominees, which will make sure that Judge Kavanaugh makes no meaningful statements on issues like health care. Hoosiers know that people usually can’t hide their true beliefs, and the judge has already written a judicial opinion and given a high-profile speech where he tipped off his view that the Affordable Care Act is too broad. When Judge Kavanaugh writes that the ACA’s key provisions are “unprecedented” and “a jarring prospect,” it is fair to conclude he is not a fan.

President Trump knows this well. The President has called the Affordable Care Act a “disaster” and has harshly criticized judges who disagree with him. So he made his Supreme Court choice very carefully. After the Trump administration failed to repeal the ACA in Congress, it began pushing the same agenda in the courts. The President fully expects that Judge Kavanaugh will hammer another nail in the coffin for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Senators Donnelly and Young know this, too. They need to show the courage to stand up against this scheme to hand a lifetime appointment to a judge who will take away health care from Hoosiers who need it the most. They should read the obvious warning sign on Judge Kavanaugh, and refuse to confirm him for the Supreme Court.

Fran Quigley is a clinical professor and director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law and coordinator of People of Faith for Access to Medicines. The opinions are the writer's.


Porter County Government Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.