Reproductive Health & Rights
Association Health Plan Proposed Rule: Small Benefits, Big Harms
On Friday, January 4th, the Trump administration put forward a proposed rule on association health plans (AHPS) — an effort that would put individuals with pre-existing conditions at risk by allowing so-called ‘associations’ to sell health plans with fewer consumer protections and potentially less state oversight. Doing so would leave those who buy association plans at risk of sham coverage and those who don’t of higher premiums.
Alex Azar Nomination for Head of HHS Moves Forward
Alex Azar, President Trump’s choice to be the next head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will go before the Senate Finance Committee on January 9. This is a major step toward his confirmation. HHS has been without a permanent Secretary since former secretary Tom Price resigned in late September. The Senate’s lack of action on Azar prior to recess meant his nomination was returned to the White House for renomination in the new year. The Senate Finance Committee will likely approve his nomination by party line, the same as it did for Price’s nomination. NCJW opposes the nomination of Alex Azar to be the next Secretary of HHS.
#CourtsMatter to Voting Rights
On January 10, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could undermine the voting rights of millions — Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute. A bad ruling could allow states hostile toward voting rights to undermine the Motor Voter Act, which was designed to reverse declining voter registration by allowing voters to register at motor vehicle departments by purging voters from the rolls. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will decide whether revoking an individual’s voter registration on the basis of inactivity violates the law. NCJW believes that it should be as easy as possible for those eligible to register to vote and stay registered, and joined an amicus brief in support of the Randolph Institute.
Sham ‘Voter Fraud’ Commission Disbanded
In May, President Trump signed an executive order creating a Presidential Commission on Election Integrity to investigate so-called voter fraud. The Commission, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, immediately faced controversy when it requested voter rolls containing sensitive data — a request that most states refused. After many months of inactivity, President Trump disbanded the commission, and asked the Department of Homeland Security to investigate claims of voter fraud. NCJW opposed the commission from the start and believes that the real issue at hand is efforts to suppress the vote.
Sign On Letters
- On January 4, more than 400 faith leaders and organizations including NCJW signed a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen urging an 18-month extension of temporary protected status (TPS) for El Salvador.
- NCJW signed on as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to a brief in the combined cases of Vidal v. Duke & New York v. Trump, a case before the Eastern District of New York, challenging the federal government’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.