Scrapping healthcare reform and making families insecure is a bad idea made worse during a pandemic.

I don’t ever want to go back to the moment watching my one-year-old girl intubated, hospitalized, fighting for her life. We’ve seen what a respiratory virus like COVID-19 does to Emmy. COVID-19 is again peaking in Wisconsin. We’re protecting her at all costs, but if she contracts this, her future treatment and recovery depend on her access to health insurance.

My wife and I watched the rushed process to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. It’s been hard, because the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is front and center. For my now 2-year-old daughter Emmy, and millions of other Americans, we can’t afford to lose the ACA. 

Just one week after this upcoming election, the Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit attempting to overturn the ACA. The case is backed by the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress, even though they have nothing to replace it with. Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s record shows she has sided with two previous lawsuits to undermine the ACA. She has refused to say she will protect the ACA, and that is terrifying.

The ACA prevents insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. If it’s overturned, those protections go away. More than 20 million Americans and 2.5 million Wisconsinites have pre-existing conditions. Including my little girl, Emmy. 

Emmy was born with a congenital heart defect, which makes her especially vulnerable to infections. Last winter, she contracted Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Typically, people can recover quickly from RSV, but it affected Emmy so severely she had to be hospitalized. Her heart rate was almost 300 beats per minute. The doctors had to put her on oxygen. They had defibrillator paddles there. To get her heart back to normal, she had to be intubated and paralyzed for a couple of days. We were in shock. 

Emmy’s pre-existing condition means viruses can land her in the hospital like this for days. We got a preview of how a virus like COVID-19 affects her, and it was terrifying. Between her heart surgery and hospital stay, our medical bills were hundreds of thousands of dollars. Luckily, we had health insurance to cover the costs, because of the ACA’s protections. We depend on that coverage as she faces an unpredictable pandemic. 

I just want her to grow up healthy and safe. No parent should have to worry about medical debt while watching his intubated baby girl fight for her life. Amy Coney Barrett said that she would consider her own children when thinking about the impact of repealing the ACA. As a father, I wish she would think of children like mine, too. 

My Senator Ron Johnson sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He insisted that he and his fellow Republicans will protect people with pre-existing conditions. That’s not true.

Senator Johnson has voted 11 times to weaken protections for pre-existing conditions. These past four years, President Trump has had a Republican majority in the Senate.  Even so, he has failed to pass a replacement health care plan. So if the ACA is overturned, Americans will lose their health care in the middle of a pandemic, and have no solution to turn to. President Trump’s only plan is to take away health care. 

I hope other parents and families understand that with Justice Amy Coney Barrett confirmed, our health care is on the line. This global pandemic has infected millions of Americans and killed more than 220,000 people in the United States.

As Wisconsin experiences its third peak, we’re reminded that this virus is still very real and it’s not going away any time soon. Repealing the ACA in the midst of such a crisis would result in even more devastation for families nationwide. Even children. We must hold the Trump Administration and our leaders accountable.

Brady Minter was born and raised in Wisconsin. He resides in Madison with his wife and 2-year-old daughter.