Obama Wants Your Health Care Reform Ideas
Barack Obama is encouraging Americans to participate in community health care discussions between December 15-31 so that he can incorporate the requests of the people into reformed health care legislation.
"In order for us to reform our health care system, we must first begin reforming how government communicates with the American people," Obama said in a statement yesterday. "These Health Care Community Discussions are a great way for the American people to have a direct say in our health reform efforts."
By applying the high-tech tools and grass-roots activism that helped him win the White House, Obama hopes to circumvent many of the traditionally powerful special interests that have quashed previous health-care reform efforts.
Thomas Daschle, Obama's secretary of health and human services, will personally attend at least one session, and incorporate popular suggestions, requests and concerns into a report and video which will be presented to the president. These brainstorming sessions will encourage dialogue at a community level, and get Americans talking about what health care changes will have a meaningful and realistic impact on their day to day lives.
Noting that Obama made health-care reform a top priority during the campaign, Daschle said the early activity was proof that had not changed: "He did it in the campaign, and I am here to tell you that his commitment to changing the health-care system remains strong and focused."
Americans can also get involved through Obama's transition website, which is collecting and tracking online input on health-care reform.
Community health care discussions can take place anywhere (home, community centre, bake-off, etc) and be informal gatherings or town-hall events, but you need to register your event through the transition website. Hosts will receive a moderator kit to guide the discussion.