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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says Americans Need COVID Relief First, Not a Supreme Court Justice

John Smith / WAER News

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand feels President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is against the Affordable Care Act and worries that pre-existing conditions for insurance plans are on the line.  However, Judge Amy Coney Barrett maintains she had no agenda to repeal the ACA.  Gillibrand says that Senator Lindsay Graham is “hell-bent” on pushing through the nomination process in time for a November 11th ACA lawsuit to be heard by the court.  That would happen after Election Day.

“What we can do as Americans is raise our voices and be heard on this and let Mitch McConnell and the republicans know that we don’t want this kind of a process.  We don’t want this nomination to be rushed.  That this judge is the wrong judge for this moment; given her record in previous statements and that this should wait for the American people to decide who the next president is going to be and that, then the justice should be filled.”

Credit John Smith / WAER News
Allie Marotta speaks via Zoom during Senator Gillibrand's press conference. She has had difficult getting coverage and affording insulin during the pandemic.

A young woman who experienced a job loss and had to live on a cliffhanger of sorts for several months.  Allie Marotta didn’t qualify for insurance to pay for an essential drug to control her diabetes, so she was forced to live on the edge.

“I was uninsured from December to March and couldn’t afford the exorbitant list price of insulin.  So, I had to ration my insulin as a result of this which is deadly.  When the pandemic started and I lost all of my income, I was finally able to qualify for the essential plan (insurance) and now have access to my life sustaining medication.”

In addition to experiencing a barrier for coverage, Marotta worries if she’s ever denied coverage because of pre-existing condition, it would lead to her own demise.   In the meantime, she anxiously awaits Governor Cuomo to sign legislation that would eliminate cost-sharing for insulin during the pandemic.  Senator Gillibrand is also concerned that women would be forced to pay more for health insurance without the ACA and fears a return to policies that once prevented women from being ineligible for health insurance while pregnant.  Gillibrand is calling on lawmakers to be entirely focused on a COVID relief package.  If you know of anyone struggling to pay for needed insulin, click here for assistance. 

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.