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Obama Launches Interactive Health Care Website

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Seeking to, once again, blaze a new trail on the intersection of technology and politics, the Obama transition team launched a new website on Tuesday designed to generate discussion over health care reform.

The site, housed on the transition homepage -- change.gov -- is a blend of policy wonkery and cyber-community. It offers up health-care related questions to generate reader discussion. And, in an effort to spur a broader sense of responsibility and influence, the comment threads are rated, allowing users to develop a level of standing on the site.

This is new turf for a president-elect (obviously), but more noteworthy than the website itself is what the Obama team is signaling with its launch. It isn't coincidental that Obama is addressing health care in this type of forum. During the campaign, he was repeatedly critical of the closed nature of negotiations during the Clinton-era push for health care reform. Already, he seems to be trying to make the public a shareholder in the process.

It also now seems abundantly clear that the upcoming administration won't shy away from using various technological tools to pursue its political agenda. It's not hard at all to envision similar sites popping up in regards to environmental or education policy.

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