Organizations unveil health law partnership

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The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and the Center for Civil Justice (CCJ) have established a Health Law Partnership Project (“Project”) to ensure access to Medicaid and ACA coverage, with an emphasis on combating racial disparities in health in the state of Michigan.

NHeLP and CCJ have a shared commitment to achieving health equity, according to officials with both groups.

“Michigan is still reeling from the effects of COVID-19, which laid bare persistent health disparities in our state,” said Kelly Bidelman, CCJ’s executive director. “Black residents represent 14 percent of the state’s population, yet constitute 40 percent of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

“We also know that communities of color have been disproportionately subjected to the harsh economic fallout of the pandemic. CCJ is committed to investigating the causes of racial inequity in our state and fighting for a just recovery.”

Among the goals of the project, Bidelman said, are preserving and protecting access to high quality healthcare, including through Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

She said other priorities are educating policymakers and the public on the importance of Medicaid and what attacks on the program mean for people in our state as well as and advancing health equity by advocating for laws, policies and practices that counteract structural racism, institutional barriers and implicit bias in the U.S. healthcare system.

Jane Perkins, legal director of , said the organizations are “committed to ensuring access to quality healthcare for people across the country and are proud to partner with CCJ to address barriers to accessing healthcare and health inequities in Michigan.

“We have an opportunity to rebuild a more just society and critical to that infrastructure is access to healthcare that is free from discrimination regardless of income or identity,” Perkins said.

The organizations recently partnered to challenge Michigan’s Medicaid work requirements in federal court, which stopped the implementation of work requirements in Michigan.
It was estimated that the work requirements would result in over 100,000 Michigan residents losing Medicaid coverage.

The Center for Civil Justice advocates for the rights of people experiencing poverty in Michigan.

CCJ strives to achieve systemic change that improves the lives of low-income Michigan residents and secures greater access to basic needs, including food and nutrition, healthcare and housing.

The National Health Law Program is a national organization that protects and advances health rights of low-income and underserved individuals and families through advocacy, education and litigation at the federal and state levels to advance health and civil rights in the United States.

Litigation and policy experts with NHeLP “fight for the rights of millions of people struggling to access affordable, quality health care coverage free from discrimination,” according to the organization.

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