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I came to the Center for Medicare Advocacy already knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in health policy.  I had previous experience in other non-profit health law and policy settings in Boston and thought I knew about how the health care system worked.  I was strikingly wrong.  Nowhere else can you come away with such a comprehensive understanding of such a complex system in so short a period of time.

I must confess that my personal interest in health policy is in providing universal coverage.  However, I learned this summer that many people intended that overtime Medicare and Medicaid for children would provide the groundwork for national coverage.  While never actualized, this is still important.  For health care for all Americans to work, health care for elderly Americans must work first.  Even if you are not interested in the specifics of Medicare it is a system you must understand to do any work in government provided health care.

Medicare was at an interesting crossroads during the summer I spent at the CMA.  While various groups spent time reflecting on the 40 years of service to the elder and disabled population, the efforts of numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations was focused on the final implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act and the Part D drug benefit.

The experience I received was robust to say the least.  I was able to draft memos for class action lawsuits against CMS, write and edit informational material for state level advocates, attend meetings with heads of organizations like the AMA and Kaiser, and sit in on lobbying sessions with congressional health advisors.

In the end one of the best parts of my internship had nothing to do with Medicare, health policy, or any politics for that matter.  The Center for Medicare Advocacy is one of the most pleasant and friendly work environments I’ve ever encountered.  The most memorable part of the whole experience may not be all the exciting work I was able to do for the incredible people that work at the Center, but getting to talk with them everyday over extensive lunches/brainstorming sessions.  For that experience alone I would recommend this internship to anyone with even the slightest interest in health policy.

Stuart Sherman
Health Policy Intern
Summer, 2005

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