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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
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By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Pitt Mock Trial, Free the Facts hosts presentation on health care policy

A+speaker+talks+with+students+during+the+%E2%80%9CFree+the+Facts%3A+Medicare%E2%80%9D+event+in+Nordy%E2%80%99s+Place+on+Monday+evening.
Liam Sullivan | Staff Photographer
A speaker talks with students during the “Free the Facts: Medicare” event in Nordy’s Place on Monday evening.

According to Free the Facts student ambassador Khushi Lehal, the best thing students can do is “keep [themselves] educated.”

“Coming to things like this where you can just learn a little bit more about something you didn’t know [is important],” Legal, a junior psychology and digital media major, said.

The Mock Trial club partnered with Free the Facts, a nonprofit dedicated to educating students on public policy issues, to host a presentation on Medicare and health insurance Monday evening in Nordy’s Place. The event featured keynote speaker Thomas Fodor, a policy associate for Free the Facts and expert on public health policy.

“I think it’s important to have these events because so many people just don’t know or care about [these issues],” Bobby Evans, a member of Mock Trial and student ambassador for Free the Facts, said.

The presentation focused on the financial infrastructure of the American system, issues the average person faces in it and solutions to improve the system.

“I think [this event] is super important… because [many of us] are still on our parents’ health insurance, so we don’t have to think about it,” Emily Thompson, a senior urban studies major, said. “We think about things like making ends meet for paying rent … it’s easy to be blissfully unaware of it when you don’t need to pay.”

Thompson appreciated the depth of information in the presentation.

“I learned what solutions are being proposed in Congress right now,” Thompson said. “It’s very difficult to pass the solutions because representatives don’t enjoy talking about issues that deal with taking people’s money away.”

She also noted this kind of event’s power to get students involved in the political process. As someone pursuing public health in graduate school, Thompson said she would “absolutely” like to effect change.

“I think it’s really important to have lobbying organizations and think tanks … to counter some of the inaction in Congress,” Thompson said.

(Left to right) Bobby Evans, Grace Cuevas, Kylilah Reynoso, Raafay Khan and Simon Wang pose for a photo at the “Free the Facts: Medicare” event in Nordy’s Place on Monday evening.

According to Evans, Mock Trial intentionally chose to host a presentation centering on health care policy.

“Medicare doesn’t directly impact us because it’s a policy for older people, but it’s still coming out of our tax dollars,” Evans said. “Health care reform is a pretty big conversation in the U.S. right now. I think this is an incredibly important aspect to look at to see what parts we want to keep and what parts we want to work on. It’s important to be more informed.”

Hosting this event is especially important at a school like Pitt, according to Lehal.

“We go to a science-based school with a lot of pre-med and engineering students,” Lehal said. “But it’s all about public policy and how we change these policies surrounding science issues.”

Evans agrees that, as a school with sizable STEM programs, certain political issues don’t get enough attention at Pitt.

“Sometimes [students] don’t know what’s going on with very direct issues that impact them, especially with elections,” Evans said. “Our voting age group [has] historically bad election turnout … so we’re trying to get people to know more so they can vote in a more informed way.”

Evans said Free the Facts events like this shed light on Mock Trial and other politically focused organizations at Pitt.

“Mock Trial caters to the less talked about side [of Pitt], political science,” Evans said. “We saw [this] as a really unique example to show that side of Pitt off, particularly to the more STEM-focused people. We’re a nonpartisan group, we’d like everyone to come to these events.”

Lehal also emphasized the group’s focus on the value of voting.

“The most important thing is to get out there and vote,” Lehal said. “If we want change, we need to vote and we need to start at our local [district].”

According to Lehal, Free the Facts is a growing presence on Pitt’s campus.

“This is actually our first event,” Lehal said. “We chose this [event] and it took four months to plan, but I’m really glad it all came together.