Eliza Schafler is an MHAS Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP.


This Fourth of July, we at MHAS are feeling especially patriotic, thanks to decisions from the Supreme Court that positively impact the communities we serve.

First, there is health care. Last week, the Supreme Court upheld a portion of the Affordable Care Act and found that qualifying participants in health insurance exchanges run by the federal government are eligible for tax subsidies. This victory was about more than just one provision, however; it upheld the integrity of the entire Act for Americans nationwide. Although California has a state-run exchange, we all benefit from this crucial decision. People with mental health needs and other disabilities in California and nationwide can proceed without fear that health care reform will be dismantled.

Second, there is fair housing. Last week, the Supreme Court also confirmed that the federal Fair Housing Act protects not just against intentional discrimination, but also against discrimination that has a “disparate impact” on protected groups. Advocates had feared that the scope and power of the Fair Housing Act would be limited, with potentially disastrous consequences for those affected by discriminatory housing policies, including people with mental disabilities. Now, advocates and communities can continue to enforce the right to fair housing nationwide.

Through our Medi-Cal Enrollment Project and Fair Housing Advocacy Project, MHAS is deeply committed to the causes above. We are grateful that, just as Independence Day rolls around, the Supreme Court has given us something extra to celebrate.