Pushing forward their Of the People, By the People approach to governing (or at least transitioning), the Obama team is now providing another venue for public involvement in their plans for health care reform. As stated on their website, "Health care is a top priority for President-elect Obama, and he wants your help in reforming the system to provide quality, affordable health care for all Americans. That's why this holiday season, we're asking you to give us the gift of your ideas and input."
President-Elect Obama has made clear his belief that health care reform requires first "reforming how government communicates with the American people." And that effort seems to be moving forward as we speak. An initial effort to gather public input through an interactive feature on the health agenda website was reported on by Sam Stein a few weeks ago. And now, Health and Human Services Secretary (designate), Senator Tom Daschle announced this week that: "the Transition will host Health Care Community Discussions across the Country over the holidays this December to help his Policy Team put together their final recommendations for the New Administration."
And they want you (yes, you) to host a Health Care Community Discussion in your home or neighborhood anytime between December 15th to the 31st. Hosts who sign up on change.gov will receive a special moderators kit that "will have you everything you need to get the discussion going." And, continuing the school raffle-like strategy that seemed to work so well for them during the campaign, one lucky community discussion group will be attended by none other than Senator Tom Daschle himself.
We will be participating in this discussion down here in Texas: a state with a lot to say about health care. We claim both the largest medical center in the world and the highest rate of uninsured. As people fly into Houston for first-rate health care from places around the globe, they land in a county in which 1 in 3 residents remains uninsured. Last summer, USA Today ran an article entitled: "What does a health crisis look like? See Houston." How about a second one: "What does a community concerned about health care look like? See Houston."
Senator Daschle, we'll be sending along our suggestions soon. Thanks for asking!
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