Mock Healthcare Hearing Gives Students Close Look at Political Process

The mock hearing took place in the House Appropriation Committee Room.

The mock hearing took place in the House Appropriation Committee Room.

Austin Community College students got a firsthand look at the political process as they took part in a mock hearing on healthcare reform legislation at the Texas Capitol.

The event, sponsored by ACC’s Center for Public Policy & Political Studies and other organizations, featured ACC and UT students filling the roles of Democratic and Republican members of Congress. They heard expert testimony from witnesses like Jose Camacho, executive director and general counsel for the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, on the issue of healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured. Attorney William Hopkins spoke to the students about patient safety and hospital staffing.

“I felt like a real congressman trying to get the best information in the time available,” said participant Brice Gump. “The witnesses were true experts, answering any questions I had in a lot of detail. I think it would be a great benefit to any student to attend these kinds of events.”

The National Nurses Organizing Committee joined faculty from ACC, the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, and UT School of Law to prepare students for the event. But the complexity of the subject still rattled some nerves.

“In the days leading up to the event, I was very nervous because I did not know if I was prepared enough,” said participant Miranda Colletta. “But during the hearing, my attitude changed. I began to see the event as an opportunity to learn rather than an opportunity to show my knowledge or skill. Overall, it was a great opportunity for me. I enjoyed listening to both sides of arguments.”

About 40 members of the public observed the hearing.

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