A judge cancels the coverage of certain preventive care

A consultant analyzes a mammogram.

Rui Vieira | PA yarn | Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned an Obamacare mandate that required most private health insurance plans to cover preventative care such as certain cancer screenings and HIV prevention drugs.

These services included mammograms for breast cancer in women aged 50 to 74 as well as colon, cervical and lung cancer screenings.

The mandate also covered drugs that prevent HIV infection in high-risk populations, called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. Most private plans also had to cover testing for certain sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Obamacare requirements also covered type 2 diabetes screenings

You can find the complete list of covered preventive services that the judge canceled here. The decision applies to all listed services recommended after March 23, 2010.

Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern US District of Texas struck down those coverage requirements and blocked the federal government from enforcing them. The Biden administration is likely to appeal the decision.

The Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Affordable Care Act mandated free coverage for health services recommended by a group of independent experts called the Preventive Services Task Force. O’Connor said these coverage requirements are illegal because the task force members were not nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, in his opinion.

Two Christian businesses and several individuals sued the federal government in 2020, arguing that the preventive care mandate violates their religious freedom because it includes coverage for PrEP drugs that prevent HIV infection.

They claimed that PrEP’s mandate “requires religious employers to cover drugs that facilitate and encourage homosexual behavior, prostitution, sexual promiscuity, and intravenous drug use,” according to their original complaint.

They also claimed that the recommendations of the Preventive Services Task Force are invalid because the process used to select members of the body violates the appointment clause of the US Constitution.

The people who filed the lawsuit had also sought to strike down the federal mandate that requires Obamacare-compliant plans to cover birth control at no cost. O’Connor spoke out against these allegations and kept the birth control mandate in place.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.

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