Jane Perkins

Jane Perkins

Legal Director

Jane Perkins is the National Health Law Program Legal Director. As such, she leads our efforts to ensure that legally required health care protections are implemented nationally and at the state level. Jane also manages the National Health Law Program’s litigation docket. She has served as lead or co-counsel in more than 35 high-profile lawsuits across the country to protect and advance the health rights of low-income and underserved individuals. Jane is admitted to the state bars of California, Maryland (inactive), and North Carolina; all of the federal circuits; and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jane has provided technical and consulting support to health advocates in all 50 states. She has also led national and state-based training, including on-site training in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Jane has written numerous manuals, fact sheets, and trade and scholarly articles on Medicaid, child health, civil rights, and federal court access. She is the co-author and editor of the National Health Law Program’s signature publication, The Advocate’s Guide to the Medicaid Program, which is currently being revised for the 2023 edition. Additional publications include Medicaid’s Gold Standard Coverage for Children and Youth: Past, Present, and Future¸ 30 Annals Health L. & Sci. 153 (co-author) (2021); The Administration’s Medicaid Waivers: Exploding in the Guise of Experimenting, 13 St. Louis Univ J. of Law & Health Pol. 53 (2019); and Demanding Ascertainable Standards: Medicaid as a Case Study, Clearinghouse Rev. (Mar. 2016).


Jane’s cases include:

Gresham v. Becerra (Arkansas), Philbrick v. Becerra (New Hampshire), and Stewart v. Azar (Kentucky)), D.D.C., D.C. Circuit, Supreme Court: These  cases, brought under the Administrative Procedure Act, stopped Trump administration policies that would have resulted in significant coverage losses by conditioning Medicaid enrollment on meeting preconditions, such as work requirements and mandatory premiums, and allowing the states to ignore Medicaid Act requirements to provide retroactive coverage to eligible enrollees.

O.B. v. Norwood, a Seventh Circuit case affirming a lower court decision enforcing Medicaid Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provisions and requiring Illinois Medicaid to arrange for in-home shift nursing services it had determined children with medically complex conditions need.

Davis v. Shah, a Second Circuit case allowing enforcement of Medicaid Act and ADA provisions and requiring New York Medicaid to cover medically necessary orthotic supplies needed by people with mobility disabilities.

St. Louis Effort for AIDS v. Huff, an Eighth Circuit decision enjoining Missouri state laws that conflicted with Affordable Care Act laws designed to make consumer assistance widely available to individuals enrolling in coverage through the ACA marketplaces.

K.C. v. Wos, a Fourth Circuit case requiring due process (notice and fair hearing) protections in the North Carolina Medicaid managed care program, holding the Medicaid agency remains ultimately responsible for the Medicaid program and cannot shift that responsibility over to contractors such as managed care plans.

Newton Nations v. Betlach, a case under the APA, where the Ninth Circuit vacated  the federal government’s approval of Medicaid copayments using the Social Security Act’s experimental waiver authority, doubting there is anything experimental about copayments.

Lankford v. Sherman, an Eighth Circuit decision requiring Missouri Medicaid to cover medical equipment and supplies.

Antrican v. Buell, a case that obtained a series of favorable access-to-court procedural victories from the district and appellate courts, before the case  settled and required North Carolina Medicaid to increase provider payments and make other changes to improve children’s access to oral health services.

Edmonds v. Levine, a case which required Florida Medicaid to cover outpatient prescription drugs for their medically accepted indications.

Cyrus v. Walker, which resulted in a court order, citing due process protections and requiring West Virginia Medicaid to disclose the eligibility assessment tool and scoring procedures being used to decide whether people qualify for home and community-based waiver services.

Thompson v. Raiford, a nationwide class action case brought to enforce the Medicaid EPSDT screening requirements that resulted in the Medicaid guidelines for coverage of lead blood tests for children.

Background and Recognition:

Jane is also an Adjunct Instructor at the University of North Carolina School of Government. Before joining the National Health Law Program, Jane served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland and represented not-for-profit hospitals at a California law firm. She has taught health law and policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Law and served as a Clinical Associate professor in health policy at the UNC School of Social Work.

In 2016, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) awarded Jane its Kutak-Dodds prize for her significant work in protecting and advancing health rights of those in need. She received the 2013 Maine Equal Justice Hero award, 2008 North Carolina Defender of Justice award, and was a 1997 recipient of the NLADA’s Reginald Heber Smith Award for dedicated service and outstanding achievement as an indigent defense attorney.

Jane earned her M.P.H. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1982; her J.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1981; and her B.A. from Davidson College in 1978.

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