National Health Law Program

Founded in 1969, the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) protects and advances the health rights of low-income and underserved individuals and families. The oldest nonprofit of its kind, NHeLP advocates, educates and litigates at the federal and state levels. NHeLP’s lawyers and policy analysts stand up for the rights of the millions of people who struggle to access affordable, quality health care.

ACA Implementation

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  • NHeLP Publishes Brief on Remaining Uninsured in California

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program, in partnership with the Western Center on Law and Poverty, published an issue brief on the remaining uninsured population in California. The brief explores the demographics of California’s “remaining uninsured”,  counties’ legal obligation to provide care for the uninsured, and funding sources for county-provided safety net care. The brief notes that millions of Californians remain uninsured and calls on counties to continue to invest in and explore new funding mechanisms for their respective safety net programs.

  • NHeLP Published E-Newsletter on Hospital Presumptive Eligibility

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) published the latest issue of Lessons from California, focusing on the ACA’s requirement to implement Hospital Presumptive Eligibility (HPE). As of January 2014, HPE allows uninsured individuals who may be eligible for Medicaid to apply at qualified hospitals and receive benefits for up to two months. In California, individuals were incorrectly being HPE because they were previously eligible for coverage and tax credits through Covered California. As a result of NHeLP and other advocates’ actions, CMS has required the state to submit a mitigation plan by the end of the year and develop a manual work around by April to re-determine eligibility for all those who were incorrectly denied HPE in the past.

  • NHeLP Comments on ACA’s Fifth Anniversary

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) issued a press release on the fifth anniversary of the ACA’s enactment. The release highlights NHeLP’s work to support and defend the ACA over the past five years, including filing an amicus brief in the King v. Burwell Supreme Court case. Elizabeth G. Taylor, executive director for NHeLP, stated, “[f]or all those who have sought proof of the ACA's potential, look no further than the 16.4 million people who have gained health insurance as a result of the law.”

  • NHeLP Publishes Fact Sheet on EHB Updates

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published a fact sheet on changes to the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) standard as outlined in HHS’s Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2016 final rule. The fact sheet reviews existing EHB rules and the new changes, including: the option for states to select a new base-benchmark plan for the 2017 plan year; a uniform definition of habilitative services; clarification on the age limit for pediatric services; and, the need to publish up-to-date and accurate lists of all covered drugs on its formulary. The fact sheet also highlights advocacy opportunities, where applicable.

  • KidsWell Partners Issue Press Releases Following King v. Burwell Oral Arguments

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    NASHP, NHeLP: The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) responded quickly to oral arguments in the King v. Burwell Supreme Court case. NASHP promised to continue to closely monitor the case, and Elizabeth G. Taylor, executive director of NHeLP, stated, “[the] arguments demonstrate how politically driven this attack on the Affordable Care Act is, and how divorced the challengers are from the lives of people relying on the health care made possible because of the law.”

  • NHeLP Publishes Newsletter on Advocates Success in Protecting Medicaid Benefits

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) published a newsletter examining advocates’ successful efforts to restore Medi-Cal coverage for tens of thousands of Californians. These individuals lost their coverage during the annual renewal process when the State incorrectly applied the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) methodology to determine their eligibility. The newsletter explains that individuals over age 65 or with disabilities are not subject to the MAGI methodology established by the ACA. NHeLP is currently working with the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to ensure that non-MAGI eligible Medi-Cal beneficiaries do not have their eligibility terminated and that the correct rules and forms are applied for future renewal determinations.

  • KidsWell Partners Issue Alert About Healthcare.gov Incorrectly Calculating Household Income

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    CCF, NHeLP: The Georgetown Center for Children and Families, the National Health Law Program, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, issued an alert that Healthcare.gov has been incorrectly counting social security income for tax dependents. The brief notes that under federal rules, the social security income of children and other tax dependents only counts if the dependent is required to file a tax return, but that Healthcare.gov has been counting it even if the dependent is not required to file taxes.  

  • NHeLP Publishes E-Newsletter on the ACA Tax Filing Requirements

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published an e-newsletter examining the tax filing requirements and new IRS forms for individuals receiving subsidized coverage through Marketplaces. The newsletter reviews the ACA’s minimum essential coverage requirement, exceptions to the requirement, and how to claim and reconcile tax credits. 

  • NHeLP Publishes Brief on Proposed Republican ACA-Replacement Plan

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published a brief breaking down the proposed Burr-Hatch-Upton (BHU) plan introduced in Congress on February 4th. The brief notes that although the plan calls for complete repeal of the ACA, it reiterates and supports much of the ACA’s framework. However, the brief explains that the plan would lead to higher numbers of uninsured and result in significant cuts to the Medicaid program.

  • NHeLP Examines California’s Marketplace to Medicaid Transition

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published an issue of Lessons from California examining how Covered California handled newly eligible enrollees transitioning from the Marketplace to Medi-Cal. The brief explains that nearly 30,000 individuals were found newly eligible for Medi-Cal due to decreased projected incomes for 2015. California attempted to make consumers’ transition to Medi-Cal seamless by automatically enrolling them in a Medi-Cal managed care plan as of January 1, 2015. Although this ensured there were no gaps in coverage, the brief is concerned that consumers did not receive sufficient notice of changes. 
  • NHeLP Files Amicus Brief in King v. Burwell

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program, along with AARP, filed an amicus brief in the King v. Burwell case that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The plaintiffs in the case contend that subsidies can only be provided to consumers in State-based Marketplaces (SBMs) and that consumers in Federally Facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs) are not eligible for subsidies. The brief argues the elimination of premium tax credits for individuals in the FFM will make insurance unaffordable and inaccessible to millions of Americans, directly countering the ACA’s goals. The brief claims there is precedent that when the outcome of such a development would run completely against a statute’s intentions, the arguments must be rejected.
  • NHeLP Outlines 2015 Priorities

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) published an e-newsletter outlining the organization’s top priorities and goals for 2015. The newsletter explains NHeLP’s goals and expectations for many issue areas, including: ACA implementation; Medicaid expansion; CHIP; and reproductive health.

  • NHeLP Comments on CMS Draft Letter

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program submitted comments to CMS on the “Draft 2016 Letter to Issuers in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces.” The comments expand on those already submitted to HHS in November 2014 and include specific comments on: network adequacy; provider directory links; essential community providers; accreditation; patient safety standards; discriminatory benefit design; prescription drugs; QHP performance and oversight; and consumer support.

  • NHeLP Publishes Summary of 2014 ACA Litigation

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published an issue of Health Advocate that provides a summary of significant ACA-related cases in 2014. The e-newsletter examines cases that directly challenge: the ACA; coverage of reproductive health services; Medicaid maintenance of effort requirement; and preemption.

  • NHeLP Comments on HHS Proposed Rule

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Review Program (NHeLP) submitted comments to HHS on the proposed rule “Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2016.” The proposed rule  outlines changes to annual and special enrollment periods, essential health benefits, consumer assistance, and network adequacy. NHeLP’s comments support many of the proposed rule’s provisions that would improve access to coverage for vulnerable individuals and make recommendations on how to improve the rule.

  • NHeLP Publishes Comparison of Medi-Cal and Covered California Benefits

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published a fact sheet comparing Medi-Cal benefits to Covered California’s essential health benefits (EHBs). The fact sheet provides an overview of services covered by each program, a list of differences, and considerations to keep in mind when comparing benefits.

  • NHeLP Publishes Lessons From California Focused on State’s Marketplace Renewal Process

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    NHeLP: In this month’s edition of Lessons from California, the National Health Law Program reviews Covered California’s renewal process and how it differs from the FFM renewal process. The newsletter highlights challenges with the renewal process, including limited availability of translated notices for non-English and Spanish speaking populations and coordination between Covered California and Medi-Cal. Despite these challenges, the newsletter predicts most Covered California enrollees will retain coverage with minimal disruption of care in 2015.

  • NHeLP Posts Webinar on Rules for MAGI Determination

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program released materials from a webinar it hosted as part of CMS’ navigator and assister training series. The webinar focuses on using Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) to calculate a consumer’s total household income for purposes of determining their eligibility for tax credits and subsidies for coverage purchased through a marketplace, as well as eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP.

  • NHeLP Publishes E-Newsletter on Open Enrollment

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published an issue of Health Advocate focusing on challenges and concerns regarding the 2015 Open Enrollment Period. The newsletter acknowledges the enrollment process has advanced considerably since last year, but points to the shortened timeline and redetermination process as major concerns.

  • NHeLP Submits Comments on Draft IRS Forms

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    NHeLP:  The National Health Law Program submitted comments on the proposed IRS Forms 1095 A-C that will be used to determine whether individuals have minimum essential health coverage as required by the ACA and reconcile any Advance Premium Tax Credits individuals may have received. The comments encourage the IRS to release more detailed instructions on when and how consumers should use the forms and develop a streamlined system for those who file taxes electronically.

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