Today’s guest blogger is Matt Selig, Executive Director of Health Law Advocates. HLA is the only non-profit law firm in Massachusetts dedicated exclusively to health care access, providing free legal assistance to hundreds of Massachusetts families each year. By the way, don’t forget HLA’s Annual Benefit Breakfast is coming up, November 18.
Earlier this week, Massachusetts’ highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), heard arguments in a case with far reaching implications for the Commonwealth’s landmark health reform law and the rights of immigrants. Health Law Advocates (HLA) filed the class action lawsuit, Finch et al v. Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, in February on behalf of approximately 40,000 legal immigrants living in Massachusetts who were denied participation in the Commonwealth Care (CommCare) program through a state law passed in 2009. Up that point, legal immigrants were eligible for CommCare, a centerpiece of the 2006 health reform law providing subsidies for low-income Massachusetts residents to purchase private health insurance.
Health Care For All, HLA and many other advocacy organizations fought relentlessly to repeal the legislation barring CommCare participation for these tens of thousands of legal immigrants. But, the legislative fight was not winnable and legal action became a necessity.
HLA argues that the State’s action violates the plaintiffs’ right to equal protection under the law guaranteed by the Massachusetts Constitution. You can view the video of Monday’s oral arguments before the SJC, and read the briefs filed in connection with the case.
We also thank the following organizations that filed amicus briefs with the SJC in support of the plaintiffs: Health Care For All, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition; ACLU of Massachusetts; Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Asian American Justice Center and Asian American Institute; and, Irish Immigration Center.