Court Ruling Temporarily Protects Access to No-Cost Preventive Services 

Fifth Circuit Court decision in Braidwood Management v. Becerra case preserves no-cost preventive services but leaves the door open to further legal challenges.

WASHINGTON, DC (June 25, 2024) — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit made a significant decision last week in the Braidwood v. Becerra case. It ruled that preventive health services will remain in place for most people, reversing part of a previous decision by a lower court. Such services — including screenings for osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and mental health, as well as fall prevention for older adults and counseling on healthy living — are free for most patients under the Affordable Care Act.

Braidwood v. Becerra challenged whether certain recommended preventive health services offered at no cost is constitutional. The new ruling means that these free services, recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), will still be available to about 150 million eligible people. However, the court said that these services do not have to be covered for the employees of the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit.

The Arthritis Foundation applauds the Fifth Circuit’s decision to uphold these critical patient protections for most individuals. This is especially important for the tens of millions of adults and children living with arthritis. 

However, we are disappointed that the decision could lead to some unresolved issues and further confusion on coverage and cost decisions for preventive care. This decision leaves people with chronic illnesses at risk and opens the door for further legal challenges on the issue. The court sent the decision back to the lower court for further consideration.

The Arthritis Foundation and other patient and provider organizations are committed to ensuring access to these preventive services remains protected, accessible and affordable. We jointly filed several amicus briefs throughout the legal process to provide information to the court on how a decision would affect patients. While recent court decisions have temporarily paused any changes that could limit this coverage, the ultimate outcome of the case will determine whether patients can continue to receive these vital services without added expenses. Ensuring patient access to preventive care without financial barriers is of paramount importance.

About the Arthritis Foundation
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