The Biden administration on Friday appealed a Texas federal judge’s decision to reverse Obamacare’s free coverage of preventive health care services ranging from screening for certain cancers and diabetes to HIV prevention drugs.
U.S. Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Texas on Thursday struck down an Obamacare mandate requiring most private insurance plans to cover certain types of health care, an independent expert panel called the preventive services working group.
“Preventive care is an essential part of health care: it saves lives, saves families money and improves the health of our country,” said Kamara Jones, spokesperson for health and human services. , Thursday evening after the judge’s decision. “Actions that remove this decade-old protection are backward and wrong.”
The case will now go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The majority of judges on this court have been appointed by Republican presidents.
HHS estimates that 150 million Americans have received free screenings, counseling, medications and other forms of health care that prevent disease under Obamacare requirements.
Lawrence Gostin, a health law expert at Georgetown University, said most private insurance plans will likely continue to cover these services, but charge copayments and deductibles. Working-class Americans will be hardest hit and may forego essential health care because they cannot afford the cost, Gostin said.
O’Connor ruled that Obamacare cannot enforce the free health care coverage recommended by the Preventive Services Task Force because the organization’s members were unlawfully appointed.
Two business owners and several individuals sued the United States in March 2020 over the Preventive Health Services mandate, arguing that buying insurance that covers drugs that prevent HIV infection violates their beliefs Christian nuns.
The plaintiffs asserted in their action that the mandate to cover HIV prevention drugs “requires religious employers to provide coverage for drugs that facilitate and encourage homosexual behavior, prostitution, sexual promiscuity and drug use by intravenously”.
They also argued that the Preventive Services Task Force was unconstitutionally appointed and therefore its recommendations could not form the basis of an Obamacare mandate.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.
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