Washington, D.C. — In response to today’s ruling handed down by Judge Reed O’Connor, United States of Care released the following statement from CEO and co-founder Natalie Davis on what the implications of this ruling are people and our health care system:
“I am deeply concerned about the recent ruling by Judge Reed O’Connor in the Braidwood Management v. Becerra court case. This decision introduces uncertainty into an aspect of the health care system that people have benefitted from for nearly a decade: access to preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs. This ruling means that nearly half of Americans, over 151 million people, may lose access to free preventive services, such as mental health, weight loss measures, and various cancer screenings that we have all come to depend on. Additionally, this is yet another step on the dangerous path to allowing politicians and judges to make health care decisions, overruling nonpartisan experts who have the best interests of the public in mind.
“The resulting impacts of this decision will be widespread, starting with the fact that it creates uncertainty for people seeking care. Our extensive listening work has shown us that people look for certainty that they can afford and depend on much needed preventive health care services. Throwing a wrench into that certainty and requiring additional out-of-pocket costs will deter people from seeking care.
“Free preventive screenings are one of the most popular parts of the health care system across demographics and party lines, with nearly two-thirds of people expressing support for these policies. To put it bluntly, no-cost preventive services save lives. Since these protections went into effect, cancer deaths have dropped by 17%, while new HIV infections have decreased by 73% since the mid-1980’s.
“Changes to preventive services benefits will have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and communities who are always pushed to the margins of our health care system, exacerbating existing health disparities and erecting additional barriers to services.
“As the CEO of an organization dedicated to building a people-centered health care system, it is especially upsetting to see people’s health used as a political football. We cannot go backwards. Humans are not pawns in political games, especially when it comes to ensuring the peace of mind that affordable coverage and preventive services are going to be there when people need them.
“People need more access to no-cost preventive services, not less. We hear stories from people across the country every day about how important this coverage is to them. They tell us about their family members whose lives were saved by a routine screening. They tell us about their frustrations with a health care system that does not care about prevention, but about handing out pills.
“The progress we have made with prevention through access to no cost screenings – in narrowing health disparities, and increasing access to needed – care is now in jeopardy – people’s lives are at stake. We can’t go backwards.”
About United States of Care
United States of Care is a nonpartisan organization committed to ensuring that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care.