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June 16, 2023

ACA Coverage of Preventative Care Restored by Appellate Court

On June 13, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit approved a stipulated agreement between the parties to the Braidwood Management litigation and stayed the district court’s injunction against the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for cost-sharing-free coverage of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations.  The plaintiffs cannot be penalized for violating the stay, and the stay will remain in effect until the Court issues its mandate in the case.  

Also on June 13, the Court issued the following schedule for briefing on the merits:

  • June 20, 2023  Government’s Opening Brief
  • June 27, 2023 Amicus briefs in support of the government
  • August 7, 2023 Plaintiffs’ principal and response brief
  • August 14, 2023 Amicus briefs in support of plaintiffs
  • September 29, 2023 Government’s response and reply brief
  • October 6, 2023 Amicus briefs in support of the government (limited to issues raised by plaintiffs’ cross-appeal)
  • November 3, 2023 Plaintiffs’ reply brief

This comes after a previous court order from Judge Reed O’Connor in March 2023 had frozen the provision. Judge O’Connor reasoned that because the task force who made such recommendations for preventative care was comprised only of volunteers, enforcing its recommendations was a violation of the appointments clause of the US Constitution.  This ruling previously prevented millions covered under the ACA from receiving treatment such as cancer and HIV screenings, prenatal treatment, and mental health care. The plaintiffs seeking to prevent such coverage argued that compelling them to provide some of the covered services was a violation of their religious beliefs.