Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings began on Monday with Obamacare taking center stage, as Democrats aim to focus on Barrett’s alleged support of repealing the Affordable Cares Act. Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman joins The Final Round to discuss the details.
SEANA SMITH: Welcome back to "The Final Round." Democrats and Republicans going head to head over confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, as the confirmation hearing in the Senate gets underway today. One of the topics we heard about today multiple times was the Affordable Care Act. Democrats looking to tie Barrett to President Trump's push to repeal the ACA.
Rick, the question, though, is where she stands on this issue, because I don't believe she's ever come out right and said that she would appeal it. So do we know for sure just what this would potentially mean for the future of ACA if she were to be confirmed?
RICK NEWMAN: Well, in addition to all that, she had nothing to say today because the nominee doesn't even get to speak on the first day of hearings. It's just the senators yelling at each other. So she'll be commenting later this week. We have three more days of hearing.
She did write something about the prior Supreme Court ruling in the Supreme Court case from 2012, which was another effort to kill the ACA. And she criticized Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion and was the swing vote upholding the ACA back then. And she just basically criticized his ruling and made it seem pretty clear that she is against the ACA.
So, you know, I think the question-- some of the questions she's likely to get from people, including Senator Kamala Harris, the vice presidential nominee for the Democrats, is, does she oppose the ACA in total? Was this some technical or arcane legal reasoning she was trying to make when she criticized the ruling upholding the ACA? Or what exactly would she have to say?
Now she's going to be very cagey. Supreme Court nominees go out of their way to say nothing. And I'm sure she'll be no different. But what Democrats really want to do here is just think-- they know they cannot stop this nomination.
They want to use the hearings and the visibility they're likely to generate to just to talk about ACA and highlight the threat to healthcare for 20 million people posed by this lawsuit, which is being pushed by Republicans, including the Trump administration.
ANDY SERWER: Rick, when you say "can't stop this," so you think there's pretty much of a 100% chance that she will be confirmed before November 3?
RICK NEWMAN: I put it at 90%. So, you know, the wild cards might be, you know, we still have a couple of senators who said they-- Republican senators who said they would not like to vote on this before the election. They didn't criticize the nominee. They just said shouldn't vote before the election.
And we have a couple senators that have COVID, you know, or have been exposed to people with COVID. There were at least two senators who were not there today. And they do have to be there for a final vote. This vote does have to happen in person.
So I think there are these kind of wild cards or black swan scenarios. And I think it's very unlikely, but you always have to remember it's possible that there could be some opposition research out there about some controversy that throws this thing off the rails. I don't think so because she's been confirmed before for the appeals court. But so she'll probably sail through, but it's not 100%.
SEANA SMITH: Rick, what type of-- I mean, if she comes out and says that she would repeal the ACA, what type of threat, I guess, is that to President Trump winning the election? Because we've taken a look at a number of polls. And then the Morning Consult poll was one of the most recent one, showing that 62% of voters support the Affordable Care Act.
RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, that's-- let's, again, remind everybody, this law was very unpopular when it went in-- when it was passed in 2010 and then when it went into effect in 2014. It seemed a lot more disruptive than President Obama said it would be. And only, I think, in the last year or two did it get to the point where around 50%, you know, a slim majority of Americans actually think the law is better than think it's worse.
That has actually gone up a little bit. I think Democrats have been pretty good at messaging on this because one of the things the ACA does is prohibit discrimination against people with preexisting conditions. That's extremely popular. That is the most popular part of the ACA.
And a lot of Americans don't know that that law-- that part of the law is from the ACA. So I think Democrats have been pretty good at reminding people of this. And President Trump does not really have any kind of health plan. He keeps saying his number one health priority is to protect people with preexisting conditions.
But the problem for him is that the law already does that. And he wants to repeal the law that does that and replace it with something else. So I think the Republicans are just muddled on healthcare. And it is a winning message for the Democrats at this point.