Center for Civil Justice renews health law partnership

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The Center for Civil Justice (CCJ) has renewed its partnership with the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) to engage in in-depth advocacy on behalf of Michigan’s low-income residents who receive health insurance through Michigan’s Medicaid program, including the Healthy Michigan Plan (HMP).

The Healthy Michigan Plan has allowed almost 700,000 low-income residents in Michigan to receive health insurance through Medicaid.  Not only is the receipt of health insurance a life-saver for people with insufficient means to purchase high-quality health insurance coverage, but Michigan benefits because HMP is mostly paid for with federal dollars. 

To date, the partnership has focused on a range of issues including a new law, passed in 2018, that would require non-disabled, childless adults to prove that they are employed and have worked 80 hours per month in order to qualify for HMP. The law also imposes premiums on those that have had cumulative HMP coverage for 48 months.  The law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

When the law was considered in 2018, CCJ implored Michigan’s legislature to hold off on enacting the law because a similar law in Kentucky was struck down by the federal courts.  CCJ also expressed concern that Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services would have to spend millions of dollars to prepare their computer systems and staff to monitor compliance with the law.  Since then, the courts have also blocked Arkansas and New Hampshire from continuing or implementing similar projects.  The court determined that since the objective of Medicaid is to provide affordable health coverage, and these types of restrictions do the opposite—they lead to coverage losses.

“The goals of the Health Law Partnership are to preserve and protect access to high quality health care.” said Kelly Bidelman, CCJ’s executive director.

NHeLP’s Legal Director, Jane Perkins, agreed, stating, “We value our Health Law Partnership with CCJ. Low-income and underserved people in Michigan need to maintain the Medicaid coverage that allows them to get and stay healthy.  Our collaboration is aimed at helping to ensure that.”

NHeLP (www.healthlaw.org), founded in 1969, protects and advances health rights of low-income and underserved individuals and families.  NHeLP defends and fights to expand health and civil rights of those most in need and those with the fewest resources.

CCJ (http://ccj-mi.org) is a non-profit law firm that advocates for low-income people in Michigan who need help meeting their basic needs, through impact litigation, legislative advocacy or policy advocacy.

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