For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein filed a friend-of-the-court brief to protect the provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that guarantees millions of Americans access to critical preventive care. As of 2020, more than 150 million people were enrolled in health insurance plans that covered preventive health care services at no cost to the patient.
“Preventive care is life-saving and money-saving,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “When we catch and treat illnesses earlier, fewer people die from cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It also keeps them out of the emergency room. I will continue to fight to uphold the Affordable Care Act and protect people’s access to care.”
The preventive services provision in the ACA requires private insurance plans to cover certain services and treatments, including cancer screenings and vaccinations, without charging people co-payments, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket costs. This provision was challenged in district court, and the court removed the coverage requirement for many services including medicine to prevent cardiovascular disease and gestational diabetes screening for pregnant women. The court also restrained the federal government from enforcing these requirements.
In a brief to the appeals court, Attorney General Stein and other attorneys general argue that eliminating part or all of the preventive services requirement will put people’s health in danger when their illnesses could have been prevented. It will also severely burden the state’s public health systems.
The provision has helped make it easier for millions of people to get access to preventive care, including cancer screenings and contraception. When doctors can identify and treat illnesses earlier or sometimes entirely prevent them, people stay healthier.
Attorney General Stein is joined in filing this brief by the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
A copy of the brief is available here.