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I had an amazing experience interning at the Center for Medicare Advocacy.  Working at the Center is a gateway into the major cutting edge health care issues confronting the nation.  The Center advocates on behalf of beneficiaries through litigation, lobbying, and education, and also provides key policy analysis.  They provide a voice for those whose interests may otherwise go unnoticed.  Not only are the attorneys passionate and dedicated to promoting the interests of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, but they are also experts in the field.  While I had previous exposure to health care policy in a variety of settings, my experience at the Center was truly unprecedented.

I was fortunate enough to work at the Center during the beginnings of the revolutionary implementation of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D).  The benefit is quite complex and has serious implications for all beneficiaries, especially dual eligibles who, in January 2006, will no longer be receiving drugs via Medicaid but rather will be auto enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan.  The Center was vital towards identifying the red flags that the transition process is likely to raise. I participated with attorneys in submitting comments on CMS’ proposed use of the Internet to enroll beneficiaries into the new Part D plans.  I also got the opportunity to attend CMS open door forums,  sit in on lobbying sessions with congressional health policy staff to encourage low income subsidy enrollment, and attend hearings and briefings on the Hill.

My other substantive work included writing legal memorandum and assisting attorneys with ongoing class actions suits.  Further, I attended various seminars on important health policy issues, such as drug importation, reducing prescription drug prices, and tort reform.  These seminars provided a wonderful insight into the perspectives of the diverse players in the health policy field.

Finally, I must say that despite the breadth of knowledge and expertise of each attorney at the Center, everyone is genuinely humble and more than willing to answer questions, no matter how trivial.  The environment is pleasant, relaxed, and most importantly conducive to a free and open exchange of ideas.  Working at the Center was a privilege.

Jessica Sperling
Health Policy Intern
Summer 2005

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