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Community Initiatives

Fall 2008 & Spring 2009 National Issues Forums: Coping with the Cost of Health Care

In December of 2008, the UHD Center for Public Deliberation (UHD CPD) in collaboration with the Houston Public Library (HPL) hosted six different National Issues Forums in three different geographic locations in Houston. UHD CPD and HPL joined with a variety of communities and Presidential Libraries across Texas and the U.S. to discuss the cost of health care using the National Issues Forums (NIF) booklet and format.

UHD CPD also held two additional forums in December of 2008 and three additional forums in the Spring of 2009 to provide even more opportunities to for citizens to deliberate on this issue.

Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance, while costs continue to spiral out of control for those who do have coverage. Further, one in four Texans lack health insurance coverage and the cost of coverage is increasing ten times faster than income, reports The Center for Public Policy Priorities. The nation spends more than any other country on health care, but many are still dissatisfied with what we have to show for it. Now is the time for citizens to face the difficult choices needed to make our U.S. health care system function properly. Citizens of Houston were asked to join this important forum to learn from other citizen perspectives and to contribute their own perspectives. UHD CPD welcomed and sought a diverse attendance, including diversity of profession, stake, political affiliation, race, ethnicity, and income level. We believe the more we account for different perspectives, the better our decision making will be as a community. This forum was structured using the National Issues Forums format. In this forum, citizens talked with each other in smaller groups and all of their perspectives were recorded in a report for key leaders to read.

Goals of Forums

  • To increase understanding about health care costs in the U.S.
  • To increase appreciation for the complexity of the issue.
  • To create awareness in Houston about public deliberation as an important citizen responsibility.
  • To provide opportunities for citizen input on national policy.
  • To improve the quality of our public discourse.

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Last updated or reviewed on 6/15/10

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