Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit signaled it will affirm a lower-court ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s requirement that private insurance plans cover preventive services at no cost to patients. Once the Fifth Circuit issues its expected ruling, the Supreme Court will get another chance to strike a grievous blow to the public’s health.

In September 2022, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas (the court where many anti-ACA rulings originate) declared that the executive branch could not use the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to determine which services would be covered by the mandate. The 2010 ACA said all services given an “A” or “B” rating by the task force must be covered without copays or deductibles. After the ruling, the government appealed to the Fifth Circuit.