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Next to it is the Affordable Care Act written on a piece of paper with a pebble.
(Photo credit: zimmytws/Shutterstock)

ACA Preventive Coverage Mandate Overview:

  • WHO: A federal judge in Texas, Reid O’Connor, ruled that the U.S. government could not enforce provisions of an Affordable Care Act that would require insurance plans to provide several preventive treatments.
  • Why: O’Connor directed members of a task force to determine what preventive treatment would be needed, which was not legally appointed.
  • Where: The case was heard in federal court in Texas.

A federal judge in Texas has blocked the US government from being able to enforce provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that mandate insurers provide coverage for a large number of preventive treatments, including cancer and diabetes screenings.

The provision was challenged by a group of two businesses and six individuals who argued that preventive care mandates were unconstitutional and violated Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

U.S. District Judge Reid O’Connor sided with the group, ruling that members of a task force called the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force — created to determine what preventive health insurance plans should offer — were illegally recruited.

“Individual plaintiffs are not required to comply with the preventive care coverage recommendations … because the members of the task force were not appointed in accordance with Article II’s appointment clause,” O’Connor said in his opinion and order.

Insurance plans will not be required to provide screenings for certain cancers, depression and HIV, among others

Insurance plans will no longer require screening and HIV screening and treatment for breast, cervical, lung, skin and colorectal cancers, depression, diabetes, hepatitis, and pediatric vision problems, Law 360 reports.

The provision reportedly would force insurers to provide coverage for women who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding, including care for their young children.

O’Connor, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, previously made headlines in 2018 for repealing the ACA and ending Obama-era health insurance protections for gay and transgender people, Law360 reports.

A federal judge ruled in September that requiring Christian-owned profits to cover HIV prevention drugs would be a violation of RFRA.

In 2020, the Supreme Court held a phone hearing to discuss the constitutionality of the ACA, Following are the challenges brought by the state of Texas and other Republican states.

Are you affected by the task force’s decision not to require insurance plans to provide selected preventive treatments? Let us know in the comments!

The plaintiffs are represented by Jean P. of America First Legal Foundation. Hamilton, H. Dustin Fillmore III & Charles W. Fillmore of Fillmore Law Firm LLP and Jonathan F. of Mitchell Law PLLC. Mitchell

The ACA Preventive Coverage Mandate Case is Braidwood Management Inc., et al. v. Xavier Becerra, et al.Case No. 4:20-cv-00283, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

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