Biden, Democrats focus on healthcare in Supreme Court standoff

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The Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, has responded to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court, casting it as a blatant attempt to overthrow the Affordable Care Act (ACA) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden, speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, on Sunday, joined a chorus of Democrats who sought to focus the nomination on an apparent threat to the ACA, a challenge to which will come before the top US court on November 10.

The former vice president spoke a day after Trump announced the nomination of Barrett at a White House event.

“There is no mystery about what’s happening here,” Biden said.

“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,” he added.

“Now, all of a sudden this Administration believes they’ve found a loophole in the tragedy of Justice Ginsburg’s death.

A former academic at the University of Notre Dame before Trump appointed her to a federal judgeship in 2017, Barrett’s confirmation would result in a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

“It should come as no surprise on Saturday, President Trump will nominate judge Amy Coney Barrett, and on Sunday, lay out clearly what his objective is to terminate Obamacare,” Biden said, referring to a Sunday tweet from Trump in which he said the ACA “would be replaced with a much better, and far cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court”.

Trump has for years promised to repeal the Obama-era legislation, but has failed to offer an alternative.

On Thursday, the president signed an executive order that promises to protect people with pre-existing health conditions – a key component of the ACA – but avoided details of how such protection would be guaranteed by health insurance companies without further legislation.

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