DALLAS, Tx (KNWA/FOX24) — One of the leading organizations in the fight against breast cancer is speaking out against a recent ruling that came down from a federal judge in Texas.
Last week, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas struck down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires insurers and employers to cover preventative services for free.
That ruling includes the free coverage of mammograms as well as free genetic counseling and testing for populations that are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Leaders at Susan G. Komen said this is a big concern. We are still coming off the pandemic and dealing with its effects, one of those being low mammogram numbers.
According to the American College of Radiology, compared to pre-pandemic utilization, mammogram screenings were down by about 63% during the peak pandemic period. By May 2021, it reports mammograms had rebounded about 85%.
Rebecca Birch is the director of State Policy and Advocacy at Komen. She said it’s important for mammograms to be accessible and this ruling may cause more people to put off this necessary screening.
“Several people in our community wouldn’t be able to afford that cost,” she said. “It will impact early detection of cancer and could lead to an increased amount of preventable deaths.”
It’s unclear if this ruling changes the ACA immediately or if the effect of the ruling will be put on pause until after litigation.
Birch said she expects there to be appeals to the ruling. The breast cancer community isn’t the only one impacted by this. The ruling would impact free HIV screenings, diabetes, mental health and other cancer screenings like colonoscopies.
If you have questions or concerns about how this impacts breast cancer screenings and testing, you can call the Susan G. Komen helpline at 1-877-GOKOMEN