Defending & Advancing Health Rights in Court

Using Litigation to Make Affordable, Quality Health Care a Reality for All Low-Income People

Litigation is a vital tool for enforcing the rights of low-income people to access health care. Numerous laws create health rights:

  • States may not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, sex, or other factors in their health care programs.
  • The Constitution mandates due process, such as understandable notices and the right to appeal, before health benefits are denied or reduced.
  • Federal laws dictate how state Medicaid programs operate, for example identifying who is eligible, what benefits must be provided, and how much states can charge beneficiaries.
  • Federal agencies that regulate Medicaid and other health care programs must abide by the Administrative Procedure Act.

When states or the federal government illegally try to cut health care benefits or deny coverage, we turn to courts to defend the rights of all low-income people to affordable, quality health care.

Over the last 50 years, through strong alliances with state-level health and disability rights advocates, the National Health Law Program has fought to require states — and private entities with whom they contract — to cover eligible individuals, provide necessary medical care, eliminate discrimination in health care programs, and defended against efforts to roll back the important reforms in the Affordable Care Act.

Today, we continue to fight against state efforts to restrict access to comprehensive and quality health care, while at the same time defending against the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and restrict reproductive rights.

If you are interested in partnering with the National Health Law Program on a case in your state, please contact litigation@healthlaw.org.

Setting National Precedents

In partnership with state health advocates, the National Health Law Program litigates on behalf of low-income people, people with disabilities, and organizations serving these groups. Many of our cases have changed institutional practices and set lasting health care precedents. While each state is different, cases in one state can create important precedents and models for advocates across the country.

Litigation Resources

In addition to our direct representation, the National Health Law Program tracks national trends in litigation and other important developments that affect court access and civil procedure in public benefits litigation. Read about the most recent issues here.