Kelley v. Becerra Threatens to End Free Lifesaving Preventive Health Care — From Contraception to Cancer Screenings — for 150 Million Americans
Washington DC — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA-03), legal experts and health care advocates joined Protect Our Care for a virtual press conference to discuss the latest developments in the Kelley v. Becerra lawsuit, which threatens lifesaving preventive care services guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
This week, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled to invalidate all of the benefits covered under the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, including lifesaving colorectal and other cancer screenings, depression screenings, hypertension screenings, and access to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). Judge O’Connor’s ruling also threatens to wipe out free access to contraception, prenatal care, vaccinations, and more. More than 150 million Americans relied on these services in 2020. Read more about the case here.
“For more than a decade, the Affordable Care Act has provided millions of Americans with access to preventive health care, such as cancer screenings, vaccinations, contraception, and chronic disease screenings, without having to pay anything out of pocket,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03). “This week’s decision is a major step backwards and could prevent many Americans from accessing the preventive care they need to lead healthier lives. At a time when families are facing global inflation and women’s reproductive health care is under attack, we should be making health care more affordable and accessible. I remain committed to working with my colleagues, as well as organizations like Protect Our Care, to ensure Americans have access to the preventive care promised under the Affordable Care Act.”
“We know now that access to all of these incredibly important evidence-based preventive services are at risk,” said Katie Keith, Georgetown University. “If we lost these provisions, we would really return to a pre-Affordable Care Act era where each individual employer and insurance company can pick and choose what preventive services they want to cover and whether they can charge you cost sharing.”
“Ultraconservative judges have bookended this summer with decisions that put our bodies and lives on the line,” said Sharita Gruberg, VP for Economic Justice at the National Partnership for Women & Families. “Judge O’Connor’s opinion craters the full spectrum of preventative care by invalidating the coverage requirements set forth by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, which is made up of experts at the top of their field who Judge Reed O’Connor is not one of.”
“There is a misconception that this decision only impacts a limited number of health services. In reality, this lawsuit threatens health care for more than 150 million Americans, including people with employer coverage,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Guaranteed access to free preventive care is a life or death issue, protecting people from serious diseases, reducing stark disparities in care, and ensuring children and families stay healthy. Let’s be clear: this case is politically-driven, brought by longtime adversaries of the ACA, women’s health, and LGBTQ rights. This lawsuit comes at a time when Republicans in Congress have vowed to repeal the ACA, entirely sunset Social Security and Medicare, and repeal the Inflation Reduction Act’s provisions to lower drug prices. The consequences of this ruling cannot be understated and it is essential that Judge O’Connor stay the effects of his order while this dangerous decision is appealed.”