Northwest Health Law Advocates
Nissa Iversen will spend the summer interning at Northwest Health Law Advocates (NoHLA), a nonprofit organization that works towards securing accessible and affordable health care for low-income individuals and families throughout Washington State. Through legal research and writing projects, Nissa will have an opportunity to participate in NoHLA's work in health law and policy analysis, legislative and administrative advocacy, community education, and impact litigation. Nissa is excited to have the opportunity to learn more about health care reform and Medicaid, and to contribute to an organization that is working hard to promote health care justice.
July 2, 2012
On June 28, 2012 at 7:00 a.m., along with the staff at NoHLA and hundreds and thousands of other Americans, I was anxiously watching the live feed on SCOTUSblog, awaiting the results of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. As the decision was announced and the SCOTUSblog commentators frantically deciphered the opinion in fractured posts, the NoHLA office allowed for a moment of celebration and a sigh of relief. And then it was back to work. Analyzing the decision, determining how the decision will impact those on Medicaid and living in poverty, discussing the decision with local and national partners, and creating a plan going forward for continued reform and implementation of the ACA in Washington State. While at NoHLA I have come to appreciate just how complex health care is in this country, and how complicated it is to reform the health care system so that those who need it most can access affordable care. Washington has been implementing ACA reform in our state for several years, and there is still much more work to be done.
The first six weeks of my internship at NoHLA have been challenging and rewarding. I had very limited knowledge of health care and the public benefits system before starting at NoHLA and my learning curve has been steep. It has been fun to gain a deeper knowledge of health care at a time when it is a regular topic in the news, but I now know the importance of the work that NoHLA and other health advocacy organizations will continue to do long after the Supreme Court decision fades from the headlines. Not only have I had the opportunity to learn more about subjects such as Medicaid expansion and the legal details of the ACA through my research projects, but I have also been exposed to a new world of policy advocacy that I had little knowledge of before starting this internship. Much of NoHLA’s work involves commenting in the administrative rule making process to be a voice for low-income consumers of health care. I have had the opportunity to help draft comments on potential rules and participate in discussions between stakeholders and the State as rules are developed. I have already learned so much. I am excited to see what the next few weeks of my internship have in store for me.
July 27, 2012
My internship at NoHLA has gone by very quickly. I was very fortunate to be able to work with the dedicated and talented lawyers of NoHLA this summer, and I have had a good learning experience. It was great to be able to learn more about health law in a hands-on environment. I was also fortunate to be exposed to a different kind of lawyering with a larger policy-oriented perspective. I have enjoyed working in this kind of environment and hope to be able to continue to work in this field. Social justice advocacy on behalf of consumers is imperative in the health field, and Washington is fortunate to have an organization like NoHLA, which is fully engaged in these issues.
The past few weeks I have spent a lot of my time doing legal research and writing projects regarding Medicaid. NoHLA monitors Medicaid law in Washington and, when necessary, advocates for positive changes to this law on the behalf of low-income consumers. Medicaid is expensive, and the State is always looking to cut costs. NoHLA plays an important role in opposing changes to the law that could negatively impact Medicaid consumers. Without Medicaid, many low-income individuals would not be able to receive any healthcare, and the stability of the program really could be the difference between life and death for some. It was exciting to be able to contribute to projects that could make such a huge impact on so many people who need healthcare the most.