Citizens’ Health Care Working Group

Sponsor:
Citizens' Health Care Working Group
Topics:
Health Care, National Policy
Location:
Across America
Date:
March - August 2006
Participants:
Thousands

National Conversation on Health Care Reform

Greatly concerned about our country’s troubled health care system, in 2004 the U.S. Congress decided to take up the issue with the American people. For the first time, Congress mandated that citizens be a part of a national debate on health care that would influence public policy and spur government action. The Citizens’ Health Care Working Group was made up of 14 citizens and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Together they were an informed cross-section of the American people who examined the issues, traveled the country and listened to what citizens had to say, and then produced a roadmap for change.

AmericaSpeaks helped to lead this nationwide, bi-partisan engagement process by facilitating two large-scale 21st Century Town Meetings and a series of smaller, 200 to 300-person meetings around the country. Our model engaged citizens to find shared views on four key questions:

  • What health care benefits should be provided?
  • How should services be delivered?
  • How should coverage be financed?
  • What trade-offs should be made in benefits or financing to ensure access to high-quality care?

The Working Group’s recommendations were submitted to Congress and the President September 2006. President Bush rejected the recommendations in 2007, noting that he agreed with the actually recommendations but differs how to achieve them. The work of the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group was historic in that it was a federally mandated effort to gather the views of the American public as a precursor to policy-making.

Impact

The Working Group’s recommendations were submitted to Congress and the President in September 2006, marking a milestone in federally mandated public participation as a precursor to policy-making.