March 30 (Reuters) – A federal judge in Texas on Thursday blocked Obamacare’s mandate that health insurance plans cover pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV (PrEP) and other preventive care including cancer and diabetes screenings.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, said the PrEP mandate violated a federal religious freedom law and that the other preventive care mandates were based on recommendations by an illegally appointed task force.
The ruling was a victory for conservative businesses and individuals that sued to challenge the mandates in 2020.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Obamacare, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Major medical groups last year warned that a sweeping ruling like the one O’Connor issued on Thursday could jeopardize access to preventive care for millions of people and worsen patient outcomes.
The PrEP drugs approved in the United States to prevent HIV infection, which can cause AIDS, are made by Gilead Sciences Inc and by ViiV Healthcare, a joint venture of GSK Plc , Pfizer Inc and Shionogi & Co Ltd.