Judge rejects ObamaCare coverage for HIV drugs
A federal judge in Texas on Wednesday ruled that key parts of the Affordable Care Act that require insurers to cover many preventive services for free are unconstitutional.
Judge Reed O’Connor — who struck down the entire ObamaCare law in 2018 — also ruled that the law’s requirement that health plans cover HIV prevention drugs violates the religious freedom of a Christian-owned company.
The Texas employers who challenged the provision argued it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by forcing people to pay for coverage that conflicts with their faith and personal values.
Specifically, they said paying for health plans that cover HIV prevention drugs, known as PrEP, makes them “complicit in facilitating homosexual behavior, drug use, and sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman.”
Fallout: Under ObamaCare, any service or drug that gets an “A” or “B” rating from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) must automatically be added to that list of free services.
- But O’Connor ruled any services recommended by members of the USPSTF are invalid because they “are unconstitutionally appointed.”
- Insurers would be able to charge for cancer screening, substance abuse treatment, colonoscopies, depression screenings and many other services if the ruling stands.
Familiar name: The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Jonathan Mitchell, a former Texas solicitor general. Mitchell is the architect of Texas’s abortion law that offers a $10,000 award to private citizens who successfully sue abortion providers.