NHeLP Strategic Framework: 2023 - 2027

A formatted PDF version of our Strategic Framework can be downloaded here

Our Mission

The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) protects and improves access to health care for low-income and underserved people and works to advance health equity. We believe that everyone should have access to high quality, equitable health care and be able to achieve their own highest attainable standard of health. We enforce health care and civil rights laws; advocate for better federal and state laws and policies; train, support and partner with national, state and local health and civil rights advocates; and use strategic communications to achieve these goals.


Our Vision

We envision a society where everyone has access to quality health care, people are able to achieve their own highest attainable standard of health, and each person has all they need to flourish and thrive.

NHeLP is seeking to ensure that every person living in a U.S. state, district, or territory can access health care through an enforceable, comprehensive, federal health care entitlement program that:

  • affirmatively and measurably ensures access to culturally and linguistically appropriate, person-centered, quality health care services that ameliorate the health-related impacts of structural discrimination, biases, and barriers to care; and that
  • works in coordination with other well-resourced and separately funded programs to address intersecting social needs that impact health.


Our Commitment to Equity

This Strategic Framework is driven by our vision and our Equity Stance. The priorities and measures of success we identify are steps toward our vision and are in service of our equity commitment. Our vision and commitment also will shape the way we work toward our goals:

  • We are committed to utilizing and integrating all of our strategies and tools, including policy advocacy, training, education, litigation, partnerships, and strategic communications, as means toward achieving the priorities we set out in this document and, ultimately, toward achieving our goal of health equity.
  • We seek to learn from, join efforts with, and build relationships with partner organizations in the fight to achieve health equity, especially lifting up the voices and experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) led organizations.
  • We recognize that our equity vision must be realized in our day-to-day lives and in our organization. We are building a work community where every staff member can thrive, where diverse perspectives are voiced, heard, discussed and incorporated, and where every staff member plays a valued role.


Our Commitment to Address Intersecting Social Needs

We recognize that reaching our vision will require our country to address systemic problems that cause people to be unhealthy and unable to thrive. We also know that access to quality health care is essential and that equitable access to health care faces huge obstacles and existential threats that will take the greatest toll on the most underserved. NHeLP therefore commits itself to redouble our efforts to enforce existing rights, improve current systems, and advance equitable and forward-looking policies. This will include advocacy to ensure that public insurance programs, such as Medicaid, work better and that they are tied to a coordinated social safety net that recognizes that health depends on so much more than health care, e.g., affordable housing, nutritional food, and safe environments. We will also support and lift up the work of organizations that address other conditions affecting health and work with them to achieve coordinated policy solutions that address all of the conditions needed for health, without sacrificing one in service of another.


2023-2027 Strategic Priorities

Strategic Priority 1 – NHeLP will shape and advance policy that makes progress toward universal, high-quality, and comprehensive health care.

Outcomes NHeLP expects to have achieved:

  • Ensured that any universal health care solution addresses the specific needs of Medicaid recipients.
  • Safeguarded Medicaid coverage in all 50 states, DC and the territories.
  • Expanded specific aspects of health care coverage and services (e.g., coverage for immigrants, increased home and community based services or behavioral health services) that address the needs of low income and underserved people.
  • Partnered with other organizations to lift up the health care needs of low-income and historically underserved populations in order to eradicate and ameliorate the impact of historical and ongoing health disparities.
  • Worked with partners and communities to build their understanding of Medicaid and their ability to use this knowledge to contribute to systems change solutions for addressing health-related social needs.
Strategic Priority 2 – NHeLP will improve existing health care delivery systems and entities (primarily in Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and the insurance marketplaces) by ensuring that they are transparent, accountable, equitable and provide quality health care.

Outcomes NHeLP expects to have achieved:

  • Advanced legislation, regulations, and policies to improve existing delivery systems to increase access to and quality of services, particularly for individuals who have been historically excluded, underserved or marginalized by the health care system.
  • Promoted policies at the state and federal level that ensure there is transparency (public processes and information) in health care delivery systems and entities, especially managed care organizations.
  • Promoted policies to ensure states and federal agencies actively collect, publish and utilize data to inform policy decisions and increase accountability of managed care plans, payors, and other private entities (and the agencies) in Medicaid and the marketplace.
Strategic Priority 3 – NHeLP will amplify and bolster its efforts to protect and enforce the rights of low-income and underserved people to ensure they get the health care to which they are entitled.

Outcomes NHeLP expects to have achieved:

  • Safeguarded Medicaid protections in all 50 states, DC and the territories through enforcement actions.
  • Expanded internal capacity to enforce existing health rights and civil rights that impact health care.
  • Protected access to the courts through litigation and policy advocacy.
  • Fought against discriminatory practices in health care through litigation and policy advocacy.
  • Maintained and expanded Health Law Partnerships with state-based advocates.
Strategic Priority 4 – NHeLP will ensure and advance the sustainability of the organization with an inclusive and collaborative culture that embodies our equity commitment.

Outcomes NHeLP expects to have achieved:

  • Achieved revenue streams that are optimal for sustaining operations, retaining staff and supporting program growth.
  • Operationalized the team-of-teams model based on practice areas that integrate all strategy teams into planning and execution of its programs to advance the organization’s strategic priorities.
  • Created a system and practice that provides opportunities and training to enable emerging leaders of diverse backgrounds, skills, and experience to take on increased responsibility, autonomy and accountability.
  • Sustained a strong and positive organizational culture and alignment on our shared vision and priorities as we transitioned to remote work.
  • Improved diversity in NHeLP’s staff and leadership, on both the executive and board levels, so that staff and leadership are reflective of the diversity of the communities we serve.
  • Enhanced operating systems that enable employees to access and share information and resources needed in real-time.
  • Continued to grow toward our equity goals of being a place where diverse staff thrive, and where trust, candor and respect for each staff member are demonstrated.