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Arizona attorney general joins amicus brief favoring preventative services

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(The Center Square) – Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes joined a group of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief this week, hoping to protect an aspect of the Affordable Care Act.

The provision guarantees preventive care for millions of Americans, according to a press release from Mayes’s office.

“Hundreds of thousands of Arizonans have benefited from the preventative health care services available under the Affordable Care Act, and these services have saved lives across our country,” Mayes said in the release. “Early detection of diseases also saves money in the long run by mitigating the need for more costly treatments. Eliminating these provisions would endanger lives and hurt public health in our state. I am proud to join my fellow attorneys general in asking the court to uphold these critical protections for Arizonans.”

The provision requires most private insurance plans to cover certain preventive services and treatments, including cancer screenings and vaccinations, without charging consumers any out-of-pocket costs.

The legal case Braidwood v. Becerra threatens this provision, according to the release. Those who filed the suit do not want to pay for certain contraceptives and HIV care, arguing that it violates their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas partially took the plaintiffs’ side in the case, arguing that requiring the plaintiffs to purchase insurance that covers some forms of prophylactic HIV medication violated some plaintiffs’ RFRA rights.

The coalition Mayes is a part of is led by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. The attorneys general filed their amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit court.

In the brief, the attorneys general argue that these preventive care provisions save lives and that removing them would burden the public health system.

The brief calls on the appeals court to reverse the parts of the decision that sided with the plaintiffs, while affirming the rest of the judgment.

The attorneys general note that the Affordable Care Act expanded preventive care access for more than 76 million Americans.

“Preventive services improve public health outcomes by enabling medical professionals to identify and treat illnesses earlier and, in some cases, entirely prevent them,” the release from Mayes’s office said. “The brief describes several ways the ACA’s provision has improved public health, including increasing rates of screenings for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer fatalities in America. Colorectal cancer is considered largely preventable with screening, and the increase in screenings after the passage of the ACA led to an associated decrease in colorectal cancer and colorectal cancer deaths.”

Additionally, the attorneys general argue that the ACA expanded access to contraception for women.

In addition to the attorneys general from Arizona and Illinois, the following states joined the amicus brief: California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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