March 30, 2023
Washington, D.C. — The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law issues the following statement by Lawrence O. Gostin, Andrew Twinamatsiko, and Zachary Baron regarding today’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor that strikes down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required coverage of a range of preventive services.
The federal district court’s decision today granting a nationwide injunction against the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that private insurance plans cover more than 50 evidence-based health care services without imposing cost-sharing is a significant retrenchment of progress in U.S. health care policy. Unless it is stayed, the decision will make preventive health services unaffordable for millions of Americans and limit their ability to get early treatment for diseases such as colorectal and lung cancer, diabetes, and depression, to name a few.
The Affordable Care Act requires all private insurance plans to provide cost-free coverage of various preventive health services, including those recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, such as screenings for cancer, behavioral counseling, and tobacco cessation. This requirement has allowed millions of Americans to access preventive care and worked to minimize gaps in access to services, especially for racial and ethnic minorities. The court’s decision today allowing health care plans to impose costs on these essential services will roll back these life-saving gains and exacerbate already existing health disparities.
For further comment or to schedule an interview, please contact Joann Donnellan at JED158@georgetown.edu.