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Susan G. Komen® Warns of Dire Impact from Braidwood Management, Inc. et al. v. Xavier Becerra et al. Ruling That Will Force Costs of Preventive Care onto Millions

Ruling Threatens Vital Breast Cancer Screening and Preventive Services for Millions of Americans 

Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today expressed serious concerns about a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Braidwood Management, Inc. et al. v. Xavier Becerra et al., a case impacting access to preventive services for millions of Americans, and the first major judicial challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s preventive services requirement.

“The Fifth Circuit’s decision endangers access to vital, evidence-based services relied upon by 150 million Americans, including life-saving mammography screenings, our most effective tool for early breast cancer detection,” said Paula Schneider, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen, and a breast cancer survivor. “We cannot allow this ruling to reverse the significant strides we’ve made in saving lives through early detection and access to affordable health care. Lives depend on maintaining this progress.”

The Braidwood lawsuit threatened coverage of preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF), which currently come at no cost to individuals. As it relates to breast cancer, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurers to cover the full cost of breast cancer screening mammograms, genetic counseling and testing for women who may be genetically predisposed to cancer, and medications that can lower one’s risk of developing cancer. The recommendations of the USPSTF also apply to other areas, including screenings for other cancers, tobacco cessation, contraception and immunizations. 

The Fifth Circuit agreed with the plaintiffs (Braidwood Management, Inc.) and District Court that the recommendations of the USPSTF are unconstitutional, since they violate the Appointments Clause. However, the Fifth Circuit did not agree with the District Court’s decision to apply the outcome nationwide, rather stating that the ruling should only apply to the parties in the case. While this limitation is positive, the Court’s ruling on the merits still could wreak havoc on the ACA’s preventive services mandate.

“Komen is hopeful the U.S. Supreme Court will agree to hear an appeal to the Fifth Circuit’s ruling and overturn it so that anyone who requires preventive services can access them at no cost, improving outcomes for all Americans,” said Molly Guthrie, VP of Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “This decision is too important to get wrong and Komen is committed to doing everything it can to maintain affordable and accessible care for all.”

For the first time in the history of Susan G. Komen, the organization filed its own amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief because of the potential impact on millions of people who may need access to affordable breast cancer risk reduction and early detection services. In 2024 alone, more than 313,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 43,000 are expected to die from the disease.