Last week, a federal judge in Texas dealt a blow to the Affordable Care Act’s preventative care requirements that private insurers cover services such as behavioral counseling, HPV vaccination, and pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV/AIDS (PrEP). In Braidwood Management Inc. v. Becerra, Judge Reed O’Connor enjoined the enforcement of the preventative care coverage mandate.
Led by Braidwood Management Inc., the plaintiffs claimed that the preventive services requirements were unconstitutional, violating the Appointments Clause and the Nondelegation Doctrine. Further, they argued that requiring coverage of PrEP violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
In siding with the plaintiffs, Judge O’Connor has jeopardized access to critical health care services, potentially affecting over 150 million insured Americans. The Biden administration was quick to challenge the ruling; on Friday, attorneys for the Department of Health and Human Services filed a notice of appeal.
To make sense of these developments, leading experts in health law policy analyze Judge O’Connor’s ruling below.