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Experts, Advocates Sounding the Alarm on Disastrous Impacts of New Lawsuit Threatening Preventive Care for 168 Million Americans

By July 26, 2022No Comments

 Kelley v. Becerra is Being Argued Today in Texas  

Kelley v. Becerra, which would end guaranteed free preventive care under the Affordable Care Act, is being argued today before the same district court judge whose decision to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act was reversed by the Supreme Court in 2021. The lawsuit seeks to invalidate language in the ACA that guarantees free access to over 100 preventive health services, including vaccinations, infant and child care, cancer and health screenings, contraception, PrEP, and more, has become a bedrock of the American health care system. According to a new analysis by the Urban Institute, 168 million Americans have access to these services. Patient groups, medical professionals, and policy experts agree that this ruling could have dire consequences. The protections in the ACA also apply to people with employer insurance. Recent press coverage makes clear that this case is a grave threat to the essential health care services millions of Americans depend on.  

Expert Commentary and Analysis

Urban Institute: Free Preventive Services Provide Life-Saving Care For 167.5 Million Americans. A new report demonstrates that providing free preventive services improved vaccination rates, increased screening rates for certain chronic conditions and cancers, and improved access to preventive medications like birth control and preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention. Overturning the preventive services requirement could reduce access to life-saving care for the 167.5 million Americans covered under ACA plans. [Urban Institute, 7/25/22]

American Lung Association and 24 Partner Groups: Patient Organizations Warn of Lawsuit that Threatens Coverage for Preventive Services and Immunizations. “Twenty-four organizations representing millions of people with or at risk for serious or chronic illnesses who have benefitted from access to preventive services, including the American Lung Association, signed this statement to ensure patients have access to the care they need, and we will vigorously defend patients’ right to access these critical services.” [American Lung Association, 7/22/22]

American Medical Association and 61 Partner Groups: Physicians Sound Alarm on Lawsuit Threatening Preventive Care. “The joint statement sounding alarms about this threat to preventive services was signed by 61 organizations, including American Medical Association. Our patients cannot afford to lose this critical access to preventive health care services. Rolling back this access would reverse important progress and make it harder for physicians to diagnose and treat diseases and medical conditions that, if caught early, are significantly more manageable.” [American Medical Association, 7/25/22]

Protect Our Care: Fact Sheet: Kelley v. Becerra Would End Guaranteed Free Preventive Health Care For More Than 150 Million Americans. The Kelley v. Becerra lawsuit would end every one of these guaranteed no-cost benefits. If successful, Americans will once again be at the mercy of insurance companies and employers, who could eliminate the benefits entirely or start charging for them, forcing patients to spend thousands of dollars a year for essential care they now get for free. [Protect Our Care, 7/20/22]

Protect Our Care Event: “We’re Playing With People’s Lives and It Has to Stop”: Experts, Advocates Joined Protect Our Care to Discuss Disastrous Impacts of New Lawsuit Threatening ACA Protections. Andrew Pincus, Kaye Bender, and DonnaMarie Woodson joined Protect Our Care for a virtual press call to discuss the Kelley v. Becerra lawsuit. During the call, speakers highlighted how this lawsuit is wrong on the merits and a grave threat to essential health care services millions of Americans depend on. [Protect Our Care, 7/25/22]

Listen to the Call Here.

News Stories

National Law Journal: Judge Who Struck Down Affordable Care Act in 2018 Will Decide Latest Challenge to the Law. “The case, Kelley v. Becerra, attacks a key leg of the statute—the guaranteed free preventive health services currently enjoyed by more than 150 million Americans. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas will hear arguments on motions for summary judgment by the challengers and the Biden administration. In 2018, O’Connor, in a separate challenge, struck down the entire statute as unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently reversed.” [National Law Journal, 7/25/22]

Politico: Rules At Risk: Contraceptive Access. “The Affordable Care Act required insurers to cover preventive health care services such as vaccines and diagnostic screenings at no cost to patients. But some religious advocates have argued that payers should not be required to cover contraceptives and medicines that prevent transmission of HIV with no cost-sharing.” [Politico, 6/12/22]

Washington Post: Latest Legal Battle Over the ACA Begins. “Oral arguments will begin today in a case that threatens one of the Affordable Care Act’s most popular provisions, which requires insurers and group health plans to cover more than 100 preventive health-care services at no cost to consumers.” [Washington Post, 7/26/22]

Axios: Affordable Care Act Lawsuit Threatens Contraception Access. “A pending federal case takes up whether part of the law requiring coverage of preventive services is unconstitutional. If the plaintiffs are successful, millions of people could lose access to free services like cancer screenings, immunizations and contraception.” [Axios, 7/26/22]