Washington, D.C. – The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled in Braidwood Management v. Becerra – a case brought in an attempt to block the federal government from being able to require private insurance companies to offer preventive care under the Affordable Care Act. While ruling that the plaintiff employers in the case do not have to cover the benefits endorsed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, including cancer screenings, heart disease screening, HIV prevention services, and other critical care, the court importantly determined that the government may continue requiring preventive care for more than 150 million people throughout the nation – for now. At the same time, the Court has allowed further proceedings in the plaintiffs’ challenge to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which include critical vaccines and preventive women’s health care, including birth control.

“Preventive care should be covered care, and it should not be subject to the whims and ideologies of employers,” said Stella Dantas, MD, FACOG, president of the American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists (ACOG). “Without comprehensive coverage of preventive care, the patients who work for these employers will face challenges affording and accessing many of the life-saving preventive services their doctors recommend.”

“This decision is not nearly as catastrophic as it could have been, but it is far from a victory and far from over,” added Carrie Flaxman, Senior Legal Advisor for Democracy Forward. “Attempts to gut the ACA’s preventive care requirement are cruel and harmful and threaten to leave millions of Americans across the country without meaningful access to life-saving preventive services – such as cancer screenings, services critical to women’s health, and medications. By limiting today’s decision to the plaintiffs in the case, the court avoided a ruling that would have left many patients, particularly individuals with lower incomes, without the care they need. Without this requirement, doctors and other healthcare professionals are put in an untenable situation, struggling to encourage their patients to accept medically indicated services that will preserve their health and lives but those patients cannot afford.”

Democracy Forward represented a coalition of leading medical professional organizations in submitting friend of the court briefs in the case, including the American Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association, American Academy Of Ophthalmology, American Academy Of Pediatrics, American College Of Cardiology, American College Of Chest Physicians, American College Of Lifestyle Medicine, ACOG, American College Of Occupational And Environmental Medicine, American College Of Physicians, American College Of Preventive Medicine, American Gastroenterological Association, American Medical Women’s Association, American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Society Of Clinical Oncology, American Society Of Echocardiography, American Society For Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, American Thoracic Society, American Society Of Nephrology, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality, Infectious Diseases Society Of America, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association, Renal Physicians Association, Society For Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Society Of Laparoscopic And Robotic Surgeons, and the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc.

For more information about Democracy Forward, please visit www.democracyforward.org. 

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