U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Photo: Mike Scarcella/ALM

A judicial ruling that would nullify a mandate requiring certain preventive services under the Affordable Care Act continues to wind its way through the federal court system. On Tuesday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans heard oral arguments over a Biden administration request that it pause the earlier decision. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor is on hold under an administrative stay while the appeals court considers whether it should be frozen long-term while the appeal of the case plays out. A ruling could come as soon as this week, say legal experts.

In the Tuesday hearing, a Justice Department attorney argued that if O’Connor’s ruling were allowed to take full effect, it would cause “enormous harms” to the 150 million people whose insurance plans may be affected if their insurers end the no-cost coverage of the services in question.

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