Washington, DC – As the United States struggles to overcome the most significant health crisis in a century, the National Health Law Program is proud to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in California v. Texas, a case that will decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Over the last decade, the ACA has provided comprehensive health coverage to millions in the United States and some of the ACA’s provisions concern the Medicaid Act. As an organization that has fought for the health rights of low-income individuals and families for over 50 years, the National Health Law Program is keenly aware of the enormous role that the Medicaid program plays in people’s lives. The amicus brief filed today focuses on the Medicaid provisions of the ACA.
“For more than five decades, Congress and the states have chosen to help lower-income people get the health care they need through Medicaid programs,” said Elizabeth G. Taylor, Executive Director of the National Health Law Program. “Medicaid is a powerful tool in addressing many of the health care inequities that plague this nation. Women, communities of color, people with disabilities, rural communities, and LGBTQ people all benefit from its coverage. Medicaid covers more than 36 million children, including 6.1 million children with severe physical and mental disabilities. It covers critical health care services for 16 million women, including breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment, family planning services, and pregnancy-related care. Medicaid coverage is particularly important for people of color, who, due to the ongoing impacts of structural racism and inequality in the U.S., have higher rates of chronic health conditions that require ongoing screening and services, such as diabetes. The health inequities revealed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak, including the horrifying disparity in racial mortality, show us exactly why Medicaid is so vital.”
“The legal rationale behind this case is dubious at best, but it is our strong belief that the legal challenges to Medicaid and its expansion under the ACA are even weaker,” said the National Health Law Program’s Legal Director Jane Perkins. “The portions of the Affordable Care Act that expanded Medicaid coverage to millions of low-income adults do not, in any way, depend on the minimum coverage provision that is at the core of this lawsuit. Over Medicaid’s 55-year history, Congress has regularly amended the Medicaid Act, building upon its success and expanding the scope and breadth of coverage. Congress followed that same pattern when it included the Medicaid amendments in the ACA. Because the ACA’s Medicaid amendments are functionally independent from the ACA’s minimum-coverage provision, and because Congress’s plan to increase quality health care coverage for low-income people is well-served by the Medicaid provisions it enacted, those provisions should remain intact no matter what the Court does with the minimum-coverage provision.”
Read the amicus brief here.
For additional comment from Perkins or Taylor, or for further information, please contact NHeLP’s Director of Communications Andy DiAntonio at [email protected] or 703.615.0786 (text for quickest response).