US Justice Dept appeals Obamacare ruling blocking coverage mandate- White House
WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is appealing a decision by a Texas judge that blocked Obamacare's mandate that health insurance plans cover preventive care at no cost to patients, the White House said on Friday.
U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday blocked the federal government from enforcing requirements that insurance plans cover preventive care, including screenings for certain cancers and pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV (PrEP).
If O'Connor's ruling is not paused or overturned on appeal, insurers will be able to charge patients copays and deductibles for such services in new insurance plans.
"The president is glad to see the Department of Justice is appealing the judge's decision," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
"Preventive care saves lives, saves families money, and protects and improves our health," she said. "This decision threatens to jeopardize critical care."
The legal challenge was brought by eight individuals and two businesses, all from Texas. They argued that the free PrEP requirement requires business owners and consumers to pay for services that "encourage homosexual behavior, prostitution, sexual promiscuity and intravenous drug use" despite their religious beliefs.
They also said that the advisory body that recommends what preventive care should be covered without cost, the Preventive Services Task Force, is illegal because its members are not directly appointed by the president, which they argue is required by the U.S. Constitution.
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