Obamacare can’t require coverage for some HIV prevention drugs, federal judge rules

By Tierney Sneed and Tami Luhby, CNN

A Texas federal judge on Wednesday struck down an Affordable Care Act requirement that insurers and employers offer plans that cover HIV prevention drugs.

The decision came as part of a larger decision that was a partial victory for opponents of Obamacare who challenged the Affordable Care Act mandates for free coverage of preventive care services.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor has ruled that requiring employers to offer insurance plans that cover HIV prevention pills, known as PrEP drugs, violates the Health Restoration Act. religious freedom.

Challengers to the requirement, employers in Texas, argued that the mandate facilitated behavior to which they had religious objections.

As part of the decision, O’Connor declared unconstitutional part of the broader mandate of preventive services, which requires insurers and employers to cover cancer and heart disease screenings, as well as smoking cessation programs, among others. However, the judge upheld some services for children and women, as well as vaccinations.

The scope of the decision remains to be determined. O’Connor asked both parties to file additional briefs by Friday.

This story is broken and will be updated.

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