Lifestyle

Texas court case could threaten Americans’ health care nationwide

A federal lawsuit out of Texas could end access to free lifesaving preventive health care services for nearly 168 million people in the United States with private insurance, a new report suggests.

Kelley v. Becerra seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that health plans cover preventive health services at no cost. The popular ACA provision has improved screening rates for cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, while also increasing vaccination rates, according to an analysis released by the Urban Institute and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Since its inception, the provision has also increased access to birth control and other contraceptives. For example, women saved $255 on oral contraception and $248 on intrauterine devices (IUDs), on average, following ACA implementation, while unintended pregnancies declined.

The American Medical Association, in concert with 61 other medical groups, said the consequences of overturning the ACA provision would be drastic and damaging.

“With an adverse ruling, patients would lose access to vital preventive health care services, such as screening for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease, diabetes, preeclampsia, and hearing, as well as access to immunizations critical to maintaining a healthy population,” the organizations wrote in a statement. “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.”

The case is still pending in the Northern District of Texas. A hearing was held Tuesday, with the judge hearing arguments in the case.