A Law Clerk’s View: Bringing Health Care Reform Home

Health CareI spent a very enjoyable summer working as a law clerk for Nebraska Appleseed. I have always admired the values this organization holds, yet never completely understood the work they do until I was given the opportunity to be a part of it. I spent the summer working primarily on health care access issues; an area I have gained a whole new appreciation for.

Before beginning law school, I spent the spring of 2010, the time in which health care reform legislation was passed and signed into law, interning at the White House for the Office of Legislative Affairs. There, I was thrown into the midst of hard work and excitement, and had direct exposure to the health care reform taking place. I was on the steps of the East Room of the White House—after helping escort the 100s of members of Congress into the small room they crowded into where they celebrated and rejoiced in what they had worked so hard to make happen—along with many other White House interns and staffers, when this bill was signed. We filled the hallways and staircases and listened to the President speak about the history that was being made. We could hear members of Congress chant and cheer. I stood with individuals who had sacrificed so much time and energy to make this happen. I knew that in a small way, I was a part of something historic, working with health care in the Obama administration at the time the ACA was implemented. All that said, it was not until I was given the opportunity to work with Nebraska Appleseed that I really began to understand the value of what was in that bill. I had been directly exposed to the politics involved, but had little grasp of the substance of the bill.

Nebraska Appleseed probably does not know the importance of what they did for me, helping me to see the implications of my experiences in both Washington, D.C. and in Lincoln, NE. While I find the health care system in this country to be very complex, I know I have gained far more of an understanding than I would have without my work this summer. Perhaps more importantly, I have come to see health care as an essential part of life and as a human right for all.

During my time in Washington, I planned to stay on the east coast to attend law school. I came back to Nebraska at the completion of my internship, and after some soul searching, realized I could not leave. I love Nebraska. I love the people, the pace of life, and the opportunity to live in a state where I feel there is so much room for work and progress in the areas I am passionate about. Nebraska Appleseed exemplifies all of this. I truly could not have asked for a better experience to culminate my first year of law school and to help refresh and remind me of the things I believe are worth working and advocating for.

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