A lower court ruling that invalidated free preventive care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been temporarily halted by a federal appeals court.
On Monday, the Fifth Circuit Court granted an administrative stay to review the case, overturning Texas Judge Reed O'Connor's decision from March. Prior to the decision in March, Judge O'Connor had ruled that the federal government could not enforce preventive care mandates outlined in the ACA, which required insurance providers to cover a range of services without any cost to the individuals.
The ruling in March aimed to eliminate preventive care mandates on a broader scale.
Judge O'Connor has presided over several challenges to the ACA and made a contentious ruling in 2018 that declared the entire law unconstitutional due to the absence of an individual mandate penalty. However, this decision was later overturned by the Supreme Court.
The coverage requirements are based on recommendations provided by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is made up of a group of volunteers. Judge O'Connor's ruling stated that implementing these recommendations violated constitutional provisions regarding the appointment of government officials.
"As we review the decision and its potential impact with regard to preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, we want to be clear: Americans should have peace of mind there will be no immediate disruption in care or coverage," AHIP CEO Matt Eyles said, according to FierceHealthcare.
The appeal process is still in its early stages, and the appeals court has not yet scheduled arguments.