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WLP 2017 Week 4: Independence Day in the Nation's Capital

For many of us, this Independence Day was our first in Washington, D.C. It was simply breathtaking to be celebrating America’s birthday in its capital, in the city which was filled with simmering history in every corner. The WLP interns gathered to watch the fireworks on the steps of the Capitol. We had all seen fireworks on the Fourth of July before, but this was an entirely different experience.

As we began our fourth week of the internship, it was hard to believe time was flying by so fast. It seemed like just yesterday that all of us were gathered for orientation, while making awkward introductions and getting to know each other via icebreakers. Now, we’ve all become fast friends that push each other to succeed, all while having tons of fun!

This week, we had a healthcare policy discussion with Vijay Das (from DEMOS) and Akash Chougule (from Americans for Prosperity). Healthcare represents 18% of the GDP, which indicates its importance to the United States economy. Akash Chougule spoke a great deal about healthcare economics, and how financial implications drive legislative decisions. Vijay Das emphasized how liberal healthcare policies work to increase health insurance access for millions of Americans, and that these policies in danger of being reversed. Such actions could significantly limit health insurance access for millions of people in the United States. Since the new healthcare bill is currently riveting the nation, it was great to hear about American healthcare policy from both a liberal and conservative perspective. As a pre-med student currently on the fence about how to approach healthcare reform, it was great to hear both sides articulated so well. It was important to learn how healthcare is impacted by the government and the economy, and not just the clinical side of it. An interesting point that was brought up revolved around the idea “Care For Your Neighbor.” Both speakers reinforced that such a tactic would go a long way in preserving the health of our fellow constituents, and create a positive, sustainable change in society. Vijay and Akash also gave great practical advice about how to succeed in the workplace. They touched upon being comfortable to work on tasks outside your direct skill set. It was helpful to hear this since most of us usually confine what we volunteer for to jobs we are already comfortable doing. Overall, this was one fantastic week in what has been an unforgettable summer!

Akshar Patel

Office of the Surgeon General

Emory University

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