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AMA Calls Eliminating No-Cost Preventive Care 'Unwise and Unthinkable'

Analysis  |  By Jay Asser  
   September 09, 2022

The physician group responds to the ruling by a Texas judge deeming a piece of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has pushed back on the controversial ruling against a provision of the ACA, strongly stating that preventive care requirements must be upheld.

AMA president Jack Resneck called the elimination of no-cost preventive care "unwise and unthinkable" in a statement following Judge Reed O'Connor's decision to strike down the ACA law mandating employers to cover an HIV prevention drug.

The federal judge ruled in favor of Steven Hotze, owner of Braidwood Management, who argued that being forced to buy health insurance for his employee to cover preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) violates his religious beliefs.

Resneck stated: "Providing insurance coverage for drugs that prevent the transmission of infectious disease does not violate anyone’s religious freedom—to the contrary. This type of preventive care saves lives."

Preventive care not only saves lives and saves money, it's part of physician' ethical obligation to take care of patients, Resneck argues. He also pointed to research by HHS that found more than 150 million people benefited from preventive care services in 2020 alone.

"The AMA is alarmed by this line of judicial reasoning and we fear it could turn back the clock and limit access—not only to PrEP, but also to a long list of preventive services that physicians and patients depend on," Resneck said.

As the legal process for the preventive provision plays out, Resneck believes empowering, educating, and encouraging patients about their health is necessary.

He said: "In short, we need to build on the gains we've made under ACA, not abandon vital components of the law just as we’re starting to reap their benefits."

Jay Asser is the contributing editor for strategy at HealthLeaders. 

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