Today, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School and the Quinnipiac University School of Law’s Legal Clinic filed an amicus brief on the need for state liability to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s civil rights protections. The brief was filed on behalf of a coalition of thirteen nonprofit civil rights, advocacy and public interest organizations who work to broaden access to health care. Filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the brief supports the plaintiffs in Kadel v. Folwell, a case that challenges North Carolina’s exclusion of transition-related care in its state employee health plan. A U.S. District Court rejected North Carolina’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit, and the state has since appealed the decision. The plaintiffs-appellees are being represented by Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and Lambda Legal. In its attempt to dismiss the ACA Section 1557 discrimination claim, North Carolina has argued that a legal doctrine called sovereign immunity means the state should be protected from damages in these types of lawsuits. Our brief describes how allowing states to escape Section 1557 liability will harm transgender and gender non-conforming people and people seeking reproductive health services. We also discuss the important role compensatory damages play in making civil rights protections meaningful.
Food Law & Policy, Commentary
A grounding legal education in the Food Law and Policy Clinic
May 18, 2023