OPINION: We Depend on Preventative Health Care. Don’t Take it Away.

FILE - In this Thursday, April 16, 2007 file photo, X-ray technician Martina Rosenow, right, and assistant medical technician Marianne Warnholz, demonstrate the mammogram screening program in Berlin. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns, File)

By Ali Farrell

May 1, 2023

The Biden administration is appealing the decision and it will make its way through the courts—likely all the way to the Supreme Court.

A decision by a single federal judge in Texas recently ripped away no-cost preventive health care from over 150 million Americans. Because of this decision, health insurers will no longer be required to cover screenings for serious conditions including lifesaving lung cancer, colorectal, and other cancer screenings.

The decision made in Braidwood Management v. Becerra means more people won’t be able to access preventative care, and for people like me with an extensive family history of breast cancer, staying on top of those services can be lifesaving. 

Living with a family history of breast cancer is terrifying. As a woman in my early forties, there is a feeling of existential dread looming in the back of my mind every single day. I live in constant worry that it is not if, it is when I get sick. Fortunately for me and for so many others living with this fear, we are able to have some peace of mind because we are proactive about making the most of any preventative measures available to us. 

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If this decision stands, we will be at the mercy of insurance companies, who may decide to charge for these critical benefits or eliminate them entirely. This would increase costs by thousands of dollars a year and create even more major obstacles to receiving care for the over 150 million Americans who rely on this provision.

Many of us, especially people struggling to make ends meet, people of color, and people with disabilities, will instead decide to forgo basic preventive services entirely simply because they can no longer afford them. Fewer screenings mean delayed treatment and worse outcomes. 

Leading legal experts and patient groups have noted that the case has no legal merit and will only serve to harm millions of patients. The lawsuit instead has been brought forth by proven opponents of the ACA who are supported by Republican-backed political groups. The Biden administration is appealing the decision and it will make its way through the courts—likely all the way to the Supreme Court.

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Braidwood comes as Republicans in Congress have reignited their war on American health care, despite no-cost preventive care being supported by 79% of Americans. They have continually failed to repeal the ACA, so they have turned to the courts to try to rip it apart. They have voted to repeal the ACA and continue to vote against lowering costs and expanding coverage. Even as more Americans are relying on the ACA than ever before, Republicans remain focused on coming for the health care law from every angle.

This decision is a tragedy for millions of Americans. It will limit individual patients’ access to care and disrupt the entire health care system. It will lead to delayed treatments and worse outcomes, all because some lawmakers wanted to play politics with our health care. 

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