Republicans never stop trying to find new ways to hurt people, because when they do, we howl in outrage, and there's no sweeter sound to a Republican voter.
July 16, 2022

We know that Republicans want schoolchildren and other Americans to keep dying in mass shootings, because preserving easy access to AR-15s is much more important than preventing massacres. We know that Republicans want women who are experiencing ectopic pregnancies not to have access to appropriate care, because women's deaths are the inevitable collateral damage that comes from banning all abortions. We know that Republicans hate vaccines now. But they never stop trying to find new ways to hurt people, because when they do, we howl in outrage, and there's no sweeter sound to a Republican voter.

Like this:

Jonathan Mitchell, the former [Texas] solicitor general who helped write Senate Bill 8, the restrictive abortion law, opened a private law firm in Texas in 2018 to go after decades of the [Supreme] Court's rulings, according to The Dallas Morning News....

Mitchell now has set his sights on Descovy and Truvada, two medications that help prevent HIV transmission when taken as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, because those medications enable homosexual behavior, the suit states.

In the case Kelley v. the United States of America, filed in federal court in 2020, Mitchell represents several clients who object to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that insurance providers cover, among other things, preventive medications specifically for PrEP.

“The PrEP mandate forces religious employers to provide coverage for drugs that facilitate and encourage homosexual behavior, prostitution, sexual promiscuity, and intravenous drug use,” the lawsuit states. “It also compels religious employers and religious individuals who purchase health insurance to subsidize these behaviors as a condition of purchasing health insurance.”

This is the kind of culturally conservative cruelty that tickles all the self-righteousness receptors in the right-wing brain. I hope most other people would be appalled by the notion that the right wants to withhold these drugs from gay men and others at risk of HIV.

This is part of a larger assault on preventive care in the lawsuit, as the Congressional Research Service explained last year:

Unlike other cases involving the contraceptive coverage requirements, the plaintiffs in Kelley challenge the ACA’s preventive service requirements as a whole, alleging the provision violates certain separation-of-powers principles inherent in the Constitution. Among their claims, plaintiffs in Kelley assert that the provision violates the Constitution’s Appointments Clause because the provision authorizes members of [the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Health Resources and Services Administration] to make binding determinations as to which preventive services must be covered by health plans and insurers. According to plaintiffs, this constitutes “significant authority” that can only be exercised by properly appointed “Officers of the United States,” and the officials do not meet those requirements. Additionally, plaintiffs insist that the preventive service requirements run afoul of the nondelegation doctrine, which restricts Congress’s ability to transfer legislative power to other entities.

The Supreme Court has already teed up a win for Mitchell on these grounds, in this year's West Virginia v. EPA case, which declared this kind of congressional reliance on agency experts unconstitutional. So Mitchell might succeed in getting the entire Affordable Care Act tossed out. But if he fails at that, he's singled out the requirement that health plans cover PReP and might get that declared unconstitutional on the grounds that decent Christians shouldn't have to pay for heathcare for those awful sex-having queers.

As I've said before, the GOP's attacks on health, including the rejection of COVID health measures that might have saved many Republicans, reminds me of the disturbing scene in Apocalypse Now in which Colonel Kurtz recounts a story about the Viet Cong hacking off the arms of young children who've been vaccinated by Americans. (This never happened -- it was the screenwriter's invention.) Kurtz describes this as a sign of the Viet Cong's strength; I think Republicans feel the same way about their own assaults on health. They're content if more people are sick, more people are shot, and more people die, because making that happen, over the objections of their political enemies, is, to them, a sign of their power. And that's what amttrers most to them.

Published with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog

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