National Center for Law and Economic Justice

NCLEJ was founded in 1965, in the heyday of the civil rights movement.  From the very start, NCLEJ joined with southern civil rights lawyers in landmark cases, worked with community-based organizations around the country, won ground breaking victories in the courts and committed resources to bring about legislative reform.  Through these early successes, NCLEJ demonstrated that the law can be a powerful instrument for improving the lives of the most disadvantaged members of our society.

For the past 46 years, NCLEJ has led the way in promoting economic justice, fairness and opportunity for those in need; securing systemic reform in the delivery of income support and related human services; and safeguarding important legal and constitutional rights.  Our mission today continues to be to advance the cause of economic justice for individuals, families, and communities through litigation, policy advocacy, and support for grass roots organizing.

THE CASE: NCLEJ will advocate to (1) require the State to timely process applications for Medicaid and CHiP and (2) prevent implementation of a policy that will force hundreds of eligible families from the Medicaid rolls.  Previously, Hawaii continued Medicaid uninterrupted until it had reason to believe the family ineligible.  It is estimated that, the new policy, by forcing all families to periodically recertify for eligibility, even in the absence of a change in circumstances (a process known as churning), will result in 30% of eligible households being terminated for reasons unrelated to eligibility.

During the grant period, we plan to use a variety of tools to compel timely processing of applications and, if necessary, to stop unlawful terminations of eligible families.  We will leverage the experience acquired in comparable work in other states to achieve improvements in agency practices and to institute oversight that will serve both as a management tool and as a means of measuring process.

Contact: Marc Cohan, cohan@nclej.org