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September 23, 2022

U.S. District Court Rules ACA HIV Prevention Mandate Unconstitutional

A U.S. District Court judge has held that portions of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) preventive health benefits mandate violates the U.S. Constitution and Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In Braidwood Management v. Becerra, a coalition of employers and employees challenged the ACA’s preventive health benefits mandate, which requires health insurance plans to cover contraceptives and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a drug that prevents infection with HIV, without imposing cost-sharing requirements on insured individuals. The coalition alleged that the benefits mandate violated their religious beliefs. They also alleged that the act violates the nondelegation doctrine. Lastly, they alleged that officials with three government agencies responsible for identifying drugs subject to the benefits mandate, the Health Resources Services Agency (HRSA), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF) were unconstitutionally appointed. The judge held the HIV PrEP benefits mandate violated the plaintiff’s religious freedom under RFRA and that officials with only one agency, the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce, were unconstitutionally appointed. The judge held that other agency appointments were not unconstitutional and requested additional briefing on the preventive health benefits contraceptive mandate.

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