Last week, Obamacare’s regulatory overreach claimed another victim, the small biotechnology company Exact Sciences. Regulators decided that an innovative new product designed by the company to treat colon cancer is only an “alternative” screening test, and will therefore not receive the same level of coverage that other, more established preventive services do. As a result, this new treatment will be out of reach for millions of patients.

Obamacare strengthened the powers of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to make concrete decisions about which medical treatments will be used in the U.S. When the USPSTF was founded in 1984, it simply gave recommendations to doctors and other health professionals about the effectiveness of preventative health measures.

Under Obamacare, the USPSTF determines what treatments will be covered by Medicare and private insurers. Medicare and private insurers will be required to cover preventive services with a USPSTF “A” or “B” rating, but not those with lower ratings. Instead of allowing people to choose medical treatment on the free market, this Obamacare task force determines what treatments people can use.

Exact Sciences, a small healthcare start-up based in Wisconsin, lost over 50% of its value on the stock market after the USPSTF deemed its product Cologuard an “alternative screening test” instead of A or B rating. Cologuard is an FDA approved at-home stool test that aims to be a low-cost, non-invasive way to screen patients over 50 for colon cancer, the third most common cancer in the U.S.

The early detection of colon cancer could save thousands of lives, and the product would also improve healthcare quality by allowing doctors to focus on critical patients. Additionally, Cologuard could save patients thousands of dollars by forgoing a full colonoscopy. 

Exact Sciences and its investors were expecting an A or B rating, and had been preparing for explosive sales growth.  Now, Exact Sciences is unable to reach the hundreds of thousands of patients it had originally intended to serve.

This is yet another example of how Obamacare stifle economic progress, small business growth, and medical innovation. Instead of improving health care, Obamacare constructs regulatory barriers that obstruct health improvements.

Since it became law, the American people have witnessed the overall failure of Obamacare. Obamacare has caused thousands of people to lose their old health insurance plans, forcing them into lower-quality plans. Additionally, multiple states’ health insurance co-ops have failed, most recently Tennessee; the failure of these co-ops displace thousands of patients who received insurance through them and cost taxpayers millions. Furthermore, the new rules imposed by Obamacare expand the powers of big government and its network of regulators, choking medical innovation.