COVID-19 adds urgency to protecting those living with pre-existing conditions and improving our public health infrastructure

Washington, D.C. – The Partnership to End the HIV, STD, and Hepatitis Epidemics, five of the nation’s leading organizations focused on ending the HIV, STD, and hepatitis epidemics in the United States – AIDS United, NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors, NMAC, and The AIDS Institute – today issued the following statement on the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Judge Amy Coney Barrett:

“As the country remains in the midst of a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Americans, disproportionately impacting Black and brown communities, now is the time for us to protect and strengthen our public health infrastructure — that includes upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), currently at peril in the case of California v. Texas which seeks to strike down this landmark legislation.

If the Supreme Court invalidates the ACA, millions of Americans will be stripped of lifesaving health insurance in the middle of a public health emergency, coverage for key preventive services will end, and protections for people living with pre-existing conditions will be erased. We are concerned by Judge Barrett’s previous statements and positions with respect to the ACA, and her appointment to the Supreme Court could threaten the lives of those who rely on access to quality and affordable care.

Reversing course now and dismantling the ACA would roll back progress we have made in the decades-long fight to end HIV, further intensify our nation’s STD and Hepatitis epidemics, and lead to greater health disparities that have been brought into focus as a direct result of COVID-19.

We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to take these concerns into account when questioning Judge Barrett, and for the full Senate to consider the ramifications of a Supreme Court that may be inclined to rip away critical healthcare from those who need it most.”