SFAF Statement on the Braidwood v. Becerra Decision
San Francisco AIDS Foundation is deeply concerned about the recent decision made by a federal district court judge in Texas, to give standing to Braidwood in its suit, Braidwood v Becerra, against HHS Secretary Becerra. The decision strips the authority of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to use its evidence-based decisions to require payers to cover preventive health services free of charge under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
While the judge’s ruling does not require payers to make any changes to current coverage, and standing for Braidwood does not confer to all other employers, it undermines efforts to promote and expand coverage of HIV Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and other vital preventative care and services.
“We are angered by the judge’s ruling that deemed key provisions of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional,” said Dr. Tyler TerMeer, PhD, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “The provision of free preventative care is an essential tool in the fight against HIV, and denying access to PrEP and other critical services is a significant step backward in our efforts to end the HIV epidemic. The judge’s decision disregards the overwhelming evidence that shows the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV transmission and puts the health of those who rely on this medication in jeopardy.”
We strongly encourage HHS to appeal this poorly reasoned decision, and urge the courts to overturn the decision upon appeal and reaffirm the authority of the USPSTF. Preventing disease promotes the public health and well-being of society, and is far more cost effective than treating disease. The USPSTF is a valuable component of our health care system and should be strengthened by HHS and Congress to withstand any future challenges.