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 Sens. Joe Donnelly and Todd Young vote to confirm 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 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 affected by this law: half of our state's residents have a pre-existing condition.
But that protection is being threatened by Kavanaugh's nomination. So is the Healthy Indiana Plan, the ACA-created source of much-needed health care for more than 400,000 Hoosiers.
That is because Kavanaugh is very likely to fall into line with President Donald Trump's determined attacks on the Affordable Care Act.
Those attacks are 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 Supreme Court.
If he is confirmed, Kavanaugh's may be the deciding vote. And there is every reason to believe that 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 Kavanaugh makes no meaningful statements on issues such as 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 in which he tipped off his view that the Affordable Care Act is too broad. When Kavanaugh writes that the ACA's key provisions are “unprecedented” and “a jarring prospect,” it is fair to conclude he is not a fan.
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 Kavanaugh will hammer another nail in the coffin for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
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 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.