Advocates for Youth Condemns Court Decision to Restrict Preventative Healthcare

Advocates for Youth strongly condemns U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision in Braidwood Management v. Becerra. This decision struck down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance companies to cover lifesaving preventative care without a copay,, including HIV testing and prevention, STD screening, cancer screenings, diabetes screenings, and more. The lawsuit specifically singles out the requirement for coverage of  HIV prevention medicines known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a violation of the religious rights of employers who oppose “homosexual behavior.”- 

Said Amber Barcel, Director of Public Policy at Advocates for Youth:  “This is a right-wing political attack on healthcare under the guise of religious freedom. Religious beliefs cannot and must not dictate lifesaving health care services. It’s horrific that Judge O’Connor would validate this company’s attempt to use religion to try to deny such an important treatment – a treatment that can protect the health of young people. Yet, causing harm to LGBTQ+ young people seems to be the ‘new normal’ for right wing politicians. 

Adding costs to these services could put them out of reach for those who need them most.  The Biden Administration has already moved to appeal this decision. In the meantime, we call on health insurers to do the right thing and continue to offer these lifesaving services at no cost.” 

Nearly 40,000 young people in the U.S. are on PrEP, and many more are eligible. The HIV epidemic is not over for young people. In 2020, youth aged 13 to 24 accounted for 24% of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. 

Young people deserve the basic right to healthcare and to live happy, healthy lives. This includes the need for broader access to PrEP, not more barriers.