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Obamacare Can’t Require Coverage for Certain PrEP drugs, Federal Judge Rules

US District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled the requirement violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The PrEP drug Truvada is used to prevent HIV infections. (Photo by: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via AP Images)

The ruling came as part of a broader decision that was a partial victory to Obamacare opponents who challenged the Affordable Care Act mandates for coverage of preventive care services without charge.

US District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the requirement that employers offer insurance plans that cover HIV-prevention pills, known as PrEP drugs, violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The requirement’s challengers, employers in Texas, argued that the mandate facilitated behavior to which they have religious objections.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, Northern District of Texas (Courtesy photo)

As part of the ruling, O’Connor declared unconstitutional part of the broader preventive services mandate, which requires insurers and employers to cover screenings for cancer and heart disease, as well as programs for smoking cessation, among many others. However, the judge upheld certain services for children and women, as well as immunizations.

The extent of the ruling remains to be determined. O’Connor has requested both sides file additional briefs by Friday.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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