Sarah Somers is Managing Attorney of the National Health Law Program’s North Carolina offices. She specializes in litigation and litigation support to advance access to quality health care for low income and other underserved people. Working with health and poverty law advocates across the country, she engages in litigation, research, writing, and training on the Medicaid program, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Affordable Care Act, among other issues.
Sarah is a co-author of the National Health Law Program’s flagship publication, An Advocates Guide to the Medicaid Program, a fully revised and updated version of which was recently released. Her other publications include A North Carolina Advocate’s Guide to the Medicaid Program (2006), Health Care Reform for Native Americans: The Long-Awaited Permanent Reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, 44 J. Pov. Law & Policy 365 (Nov-Dec. 2010), and The Affordable Care Act: A Giant Step Toward Insurance Coverage for All Americans, 44 J. Pov. L. & Policy 330 (Nov.-Dec. 2010) (co-author).
Before joining the National Health Law Program, Sarah worked for the Native American Protection and Advocacy Project on the Navajo Nation, where she represented children in special education and Medicaid cases. She also worked for the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California. She began her legal career as a judicial clerk for Justice James Brickley on the Supreme Court of Michigan.
Sarah is a graduate of Wellesley College. She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and her M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Sarah’s advocacy work has secured and protected the health rights for hundreds of thousands of patients across the country. Among her recent cases are:
- Van Meter v. Harvey, where she represented a group of Maine Medicaid recipients with chronic illness seeking coverage for home and community-based services so that they could leave their nursing homes;
- Brantley v. Maxwell Jolly, where we helped secure a preliminary injunction protecting more than 8,000 Californians with disabilities from cuts to home and community-based services; and
- Long v. Benson, a class action asserting the rights to Floridians confined to nursing homes to receive home and community-based Medicaid services.