US Court to Weigh Obamacare Mandate

Health insurers must offer preventative care services, such as cancer screenings and HIV-preventing medicines, without charging patients a premium, according to a March 4th filing by the Biden administration. The administration asked a U.S. appeals court to uphold the federal requirement.

The preventative care requirement, encompassing a wide array of services selected by a government task group, is part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (AKA “Obamacare”) of 2010.

Reports show that Braidwood Management, a Christian wellness center operator based in Texas, was one of several businesses that challenged the mandate that they offer coverage for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).  A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear arguments. The plaintiffs claimed that the need to cover PrEP goes against their religious convictions as it promotes drug use and the homosexual lifestyle.

According to the CDC, PrEP is a medication that lowers the risk of contracting HIV via intercourse or intravenous drug usage. One of the best ways to avoid contracting HIV is to take PrEP as directed.

Both Gilead Sciences and ViiV Healthcare—a collaboration between GSK, Pfizer, and Shionogi—manufacture the PrEP medications that have received US approval for the prevention of HIV infection and, by extension, AIDS.

Meanwhile, reports show that Gilead Sciences’ PrEP medication Truvada is the subject of litigation owing to claims that the business did not provide sufficient warnings on the dangers of the drug.  The lawsuits claim that in order to maximize revenues from Truvada, Gilead suppressed a safer alternative.

Bone demineralization, osteoporosis, fractures, chronic renal disease, and kidney failure are among the harms that the plaintiffs have suffered.

On March 20, 2023, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor halted federal enforcement of the service obligation, stating that the law’s authority over task force members was unconstitutional.

Braidwood avoids paying for PrEP because of an arrangement between them and the Biden administration, which puts O’Connor’s decision on hold. If the judge’s decision goes into force, insurance companies may ask customers to pay out of pocket for preventative care.

Services such as breast cancer screening proposed before Obamacare’s 2010 enactment are exempt from the decision.