Healthcare for All
In her mid-20s, Maria R. Gonzalez Albuixech, MSPS ’05, was a Madrid-based journalist covering fashion shows and trends in cosmopolitan cities. As enjoyable as the work was, she sought a more meaningful career - which led her to Boston to pursue her master’s in political science from Suffolk.
“After a few years in the United States, I understood that there was a lot of work to be done to improve access to the healthcare system,” Gonzalez Albuixech said. That led her first to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she worked to educate minorities about getting and staying healthy. Then, in 2012, she joined the nonprofit organization Health Care For All -- a key advocate in the health care reform law that brought Massachusetts closer to universal health care and served as a blueprint for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“When I started working at HCFA, I got to know Rosemary, a woman in her 20s who had been diagnosed with breast cancer while living in Washington, D.C., and couldn’t afford health insurance to cover the treatment,” says Gonzalez Albuixech. At the time, Massachusetts was the only state in the country with options for residents who couldn’t afford private health insurance, so Rosemary moved here to get the cancer treatment she needed. “She was a very private young woman, yet she decided to become a voice for the organization I work for and talk about how health care reform in Massachusetts had literally saved her life,” says Gonzalez Albuixech.
Rosemary’s words were especially powerful the day the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, says Gonzalez Albuixech.
“At a press conference, she shared the story that she colors one piece of her hair and changes the color often to make sure that she won’t ever take for granted again simple things such as having hair,” she says.
“That was the moment I knew I was doing what I wanted to do,” says Gonzalez Albuixech. “Now I invest my time and effort to build up a health care system that is more about patients than bills. Now I work for all the Rosemarys out there.”
(Adapted from Suffolk University Magazine, Fall 2016)
Legislating a Clean Energy Future
Alex Rittershaus BS ’11/JD ‘15 is committed to making the world more sustainable, and his concrete efforts to accomplish that goal were recognized when he was named among the Center for Development and Strategy’s 30 Under 30 Leaders of Tomorrow.
Rittershaus oversaw the drafting, advocacy, and ultimate passage of An Act Relative to Energy Diversity in Massachusetts. The statute, which calls for the largest procurement of renewable and clean energy in the history of the Commonwealth, including construction of the largest offshore wind farm in the United States, was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in 2016.
Rittershaus, who studied political science before earning his law degree, credits his Suffolk education with helping him get to where he is now. “The government and law courses that I took [at Suffolk] helped me to gain an understanding and an appreciation for the workings of both our state and federal government,” Rittershaus says.