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As a medical student intern at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, I studied health policy issues as they pertained to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  My responsibilities included investigating the use of prescription drugs under Medicare Part D, analyzing the potential impact of Special Needs Programs for the dual eligible and institutionalized populations, and attending Senate committee hearings and health care conferences.  I learned about the importance of Medicare advocacy and its role in refining and generating health law, and its centrality in ensuring fair and adequate access to quality health care.  I also learned how advocacy groups and lobbying firms worked together to educate legislators and legislative assistants about key health care issues.

Some of my specific projects included investigating therapeutic equivalence and generic substitution, researching off-label use of medications and CMS’ stance on off-label prescribing under Medicare Part D, researching enfuviritide (Fuzeon) and its use in the HIV-positive population, and investigated CMS’ decision to require prior authorization of enfuviritide prior to dispensation to Part D beneficiaries.

With guidance and insight from the Center’s lawyers, I studied Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries’ unique health needs, and developed recommendations on specific medical issues that the Center was investigating.

Marisa Cevasco
American Medical Student Association Health Policy Fellow
Summer 2005

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