U.S. Health Care Policy and Poverty Seminar

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After a four- hour delay, the train finally appeared in our sight, reassuring each of us that we would actually make it to our nation’s capital for our immersion on Health Care Policy. In the weeks leading up to the immersion, we discussed our current health care system and how it has evolved, and international systems and how they compare to our model and ideas of reform. We paid particularly close attention to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, allowing us to study how health care policies impact marginalized communities, particularly the poor. In the four hours awaiting the arrival of our train, however, we came to know one another. During these hours, we came to realize how distinct each of our interests and motives were for partaking in the seminar, ranging from medicine and research to public policy and politics to economics and business to sociology. This diversity of interests made all the difference in our seminar experience. Sitting down with government officials, Think Tank experts, lobbyists, researchers, and directors of government agencies, we were able to feed off of one another and hear answers to questions that we would not have otherwise considered. This provided an enhanced view of the state of our current health care system and the challenges it faces. While it would be easy to feel bogged down and defeated by the divide in our system, our experiences on Thursday morning serving breakfast to D.C. locals at a homeless shelter reminded us of the inextricable tie between policy and people. The health care debate is not merely political, but rather, deeply personal because of its impact on those all around us. In this way, the Seminar’s emphasis on Catholic social teaching reminds us that we are called in solidarity to uphold the rights of others, including the right to affordable, accessible, and equitable health care.

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