May 8, 2013

Severing the Link Between Coverage Policy and the US Preventive Services Task Force

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Dr Woolf); and Department of Family, Community, and Preventive Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix (Dr Campos-Outcalt).

JAMA. 2013;309(18):1899-1900. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3448

Concern is growing over a potential flaw in the Affordable Care Act (ACA): the mandate to offer first-dollar coverage for all preventive services that receive A and B recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The USPSTF, an independent panel established during the Reagan administration in 1984, is composed of clinicians who specialize in the critical appraisal of evidence and make recommendations on clinical preventive services that are graded by the strength of the evidence: A and B recommendations when there is compelling evidence that benefits outweigh harms, C recommendations when the net benefit is modest, D recommendations when there is evidence of net harm or no benefit, and I statements when there is insufficient evidence to make a recommendation.

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