A US District Judge Reed O’Connor from Texas ruled that certain mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) cannot be enforced nationwide.
Federal Judge Rules ACA Preventive Care Mandates, Including Heart Screenings, Cannot be Enforced Nationwide
These mandates require insurers to cover a wide range of preventive care services without any cost to patients. These services include cancer, heart, and STD screenings, as well as tobacco programs.
The judge also struck down recommendations made by the US Preventive Services Task Force, which is responsible for determining preventive care treatments that the ACA requires to be covered. This decision was made after the judge had already stated that the task force’s recommendations violated the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. In addition, the ACA’s requirement for insurers and employers to offer free HIV-prevention plans such as PrEP was deemed unlawful.
Other preventive care mandates under the ACA remain in effect.
This decision applies only to recommendations made by the Task Force on or after the day the ACA was signed into law (March 23, 2010). Although the group had made various preventive service recommendations before that date, nearly all have since been updated or expanded.
It is expected that this case will be appealed, and the Justice Department has the option to request a pause in O’Connor’s ruling while the appeal is being litigated.
CNN requested comments from the Justice Department and the US Department of Health and Human Services, but neither had responded at the time of writing.
This ruling may have significant implications for patients who rely on heart screenings and other preventive care services, as insurers may no longer be required to cover the cost of these services. The ruling could also have a broader impact on the future of the ACA, as it challenges the constitutionality of the task force’s recommendations.