Barrett confirmation: Frightening blow to HIV-related care, says AIDS United CEO

Calls on Congress and voters to be ready to fix whatever damage Barrett may do

WASHIGNTON — Jesse Milan Jr., president and CEO of AIDS United, issued the following statement after the swearing in of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States:

“Justice Barrett’s ascent to the court is a frightening blow to HIV-related care in the United States. Her ultra-conservative jurisprudence provides the court the needed vote to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

“It is very likely that Barrett will provide the crucial vote to strike down the ACA, leaving hundreds of thousands without health insurance coverage in the middle of a pandemic.”

The court is scheduled to hear California v. Texas, a case that deals with the constitutionality of the ACA, on Nov. 10, 2020.

“Those of us living with HIV are right to be worried. Protections for those of us with pre-existing conditions would vanish. Credits that help to make health insurance affordable would disappear. The expansion to Medicaid would be rolled back. Particularly, anything done to Medicaid has a huge impact on people living with HIV.”

Medicaid is estimated to cover 42% of people living with HIV in the United States.

“But it’s not just health care that’s at risk. Griswold v. Connecticut is also likely on the chopping block. The Griswold decision declared a constitutional right to privacy. That right to privacy is the backbone of cases ranging from access to reproductive health care to marriage equality.

“Stopping marriage equality would not only be a setback for equal justice under the law, it would be a setback for ending the HIV epidemic.”

Marriage equality has public health implications. Studies done before the Supreme Court decision legalizing marriage equality showed that states with marriage bans had higher rates of anxiety, substance use and new HIV infections.

“Roe v. Wade could very well be overturned with Barett on the court, resulting in the legal access to abortion disappearing. Overturning Roe will be devastating. Civil rights, voting rights, environmental laws and immigration laws are all potentially at risk too.

“Justice Barrett’s railroaded confirmation is an affront to American democracy. As a lawyer, I’m offended. As a LGBTQ person, I’m worried. And as a person living with HIV, I’m afraid with  Justice Barrett on the Supreme Court. We need Congress and voters to stand ready to fix whatever damage she might do to our health care and our rights.”

AIDS United’s Public Policy Council, 55 of the country’s leading community-based HIV service organizations, issued a statement earlier this month calling for no confirmation until after inauguration, and exploring the option of expanding the Supreme Court.