A Law Clerk’s View: Medicaid & the Federal Budget Process

Cassie FlemingMy time working as a summer law clerk at Nebraska Appleseed flew by. I was excited to work for an organization motivated by the values of justice and opportunity. By the end of the summer, I had a deeper understanding of both the challenges advocates face when addressing systematic inequality, as well as the creative strategies organizations like Appleseed use to address them.

I worked in Appleseed’s Low-Income Economic Opportunity program, where Appleseed staff work to ensure that the state’s public assistance programs continue to give Nebraskans the opportunity to become economically self-sufficient. I learned about the different ways in which Appleseed staff defend the rights of Nebraska’s low-income families and working poor by protecting their access to public assistance programs.

Much of my summer was spent researching and writing about Medicaid eligibility, unlawful Medicaid terminations as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act’s effect on Medicaid litigation. I also participated in Appleseed’s coalition of organizations that tracked the federal budget and deficit reduction debate that overtook Washington this summer. It was interesting to follow policymakers’ proposals and to determine how each proposed agreement would affect Nebraska families and communities.

Following the federal budget debate this summer was fascinating, albeit frustrating at times. I found it equally fascinating to witness how Appleseed staff may use litigation when necessary to defend the rights of low-income families, but will also advocate for smart public policy at the national level.

While the federal deficit debate wore on this summer in Washington, Appleseed staff were working in Nebraska on many different fronts to protect opportunities for low-income people to find pathways out of poverty. I am proud to have helped champion for justice both in Nebraska and at the forefront of our nation’s public policy debates.

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