HomeWashington LetterWashington Letter ▶ AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Federal Court in Texas to Hear New Challenge to ACA
A new challenge to provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working its way through federal courts, specifically challenging the ACA provision that requires private insurance pay to cover federally-approved preventative health services to patients at no cost.


ACA requires insurers to cover evidence-based preventative health services that are recommended by three federal agencies: the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and any screening for women, infants and children recommended by the Health Resources and Services Administration.


Plaintiffs are claiming that allowing these federal agencies to select covered preventative services is an impermissible delegation of Congressional authority and therefore unconstitutional.


The case is being heard by U.S. District Judge Reed Judge O’Connor. Judge O’Connor has already ruled once that the entire ACA is unconstitutional, only to be overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the legal principle of “non-delegation of Congressional authority” appears to be in vogue with the U.S. Supreme Court and has recently been a factor in several the Court’s decisions striking down federal regulations.


At stake for the provider and patient community are a wide range of currently covered – at no cost to the patient- preventative health services, including tobacco cessation, lung cancer screening, immunizations, and contraception services.

Last Reviewed: July 2022