By Amanda Brown-Inz, J.D. ’17
This January, I interned at the National Health Law Program, a public interest organization in Los Angeles (with offices in D.C. and North Carolina) that focuses on access to health care for low-income and underserved populations, as well as more specialized issues such as reproductive rights and opioid addiction. With the Affordable Care Act potentially on the Congressional chopping block, it was, to say the least, a fascinating time to be at a health law organization – each day, I participated in meetings, conference calls, and even traveled to a Congressman’s office to talk about the future of the ACA and, more generally, health care law. I assisted NHeLP staff in exploring all of the potential risks of ACA repeal, reflecting on its reverberation throughout society.
Participating in these advocacy efforts highlighted for me the deep symbiosis between legal and grassroots advocacy – as we learned from grassroots organizers about state-level efforts to protect and defend health rights, we were able to provide guidance on navigating the complex legal and regulatory aspects of the ACA and Medicaid, as well as the legislative process in Washington D.C. It was invigorating to be a part of this collaboration at such a crucial time in the history of healthcare law. Further, as I drafted several fact sheets about the likely impact of ACA repeal on Americans’ health rights, I honed my skills in communicating complex legal concepts in a manner that will resonate with the public. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and an amazing opportunity to witness firsthand (and participate in) the groundbreaking work of this organization.