NCLEJ Joins Supreme Court Amicus Brief Supporting the Affordable Care Act

For Immediate Release
Contact: Gina Mannix
(212) 633-6967

March 2012

New York, NY – The National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) has joined the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and thirty-eight prominent organizations of health care providers, consumers, and local health officials from around the country in an amicus brief before the United States Supreme Court supporting the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion.

“From our advocacy across the country to protect access for Medicaid for low-income people, we know how critical Medicaid is to the ability of low-income people to receive health care. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion is an important step forward in assuring that millions of low-income people get the health care they need,” said Gina Mannix of NCLEJ.

The NHeLP brief examines the nature and history of the Medicaid program from its enactment. The brief places the ACA’s expansion – which extends coverage to eligible persons up to 133% of the Federal poverty level – in this historical and legal context. Since 1965, Medicaid has operated as a voluntary joint partnership between states and the federal government. While Congress has made a number of changes to the program over time, Medicaid’s core framework has not changed and is not altered by the ACA.

“Our brief brings together decades of experience and expertise from public health advocates, providers, and health officials from around the nation, working on behalf of and serving vulnerable communities that rely on Medicaid,” said Jane Perkins, NHeLP legal director. “For over forty-five years, Medicaid has played a critical role in expanding access to health care for millions of low-income individuals. The ACA’s Medicaid expansion is consistent with the history and purpose of the Medicaid program and will provide an additional 16 million individuals with health coverage they otherwise would not be able to afford.”

A copy of the amicus brief is available here. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for and against the ACA on March 26th – 28th. The challenge to the Medicaid expansion is scheduled for March 28th.

NCLEJ works to advance the cause of economic justice for low-income families, individuals, and communities across the country. Through its Medicaid litigation, NCLEJ has protected the rights of thousands of low income individuals, including families with children, to health care coverage.