White House goes on the road to hear heath care concerns

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By Consumers Union on Friday, March 20th, 2009

Vermonters, joined by New Englanders from neighboring states, convened in Burlington, VT Tuesday to share their opinions on our healthcare system with the White House – and you can too in upcoming weeks if you live in (or near) Iowa, North Carolina or California.

Four hundred people packed the Vermont White House Regional Health Forum on Tuesday, the second of five forums being held around the country as follow-ups to President Obama’s White House summit on healthcare hosted earlier this month.

For two hours, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick moderated the crowd, along with Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office for Health Reform, prompting discussion of topics like cost containment, chronic disease management, reducing the number of uninsured, and preventative care.

Held at the Davis student center at the University of Vermont in Burlington, just a few students dotted the crowd, which was largely suit-clad but punctuated by several white coats. Citizens, advocacy groups, doctors, small business owners, policy experts, hospital administrators, mental health and long-term care providers all spoke up to point out the flaws in our current healthcare system. But there seemed to be consensus amongst the group around a few key points: everyone needs to be covered, we must reign in costs, the system needs to be simpler to navigate, and focusing on prevention is a must.

All thoughts and suggestions will be taken to President Obama, we were told, as he begins the daunting task of curing what ails our healthcare system.

So far Michigan and Vermont have hosted forums. Up next?
Des Moines, Iowa on March 23rd
Greensboro, North Carolina on March 31st
Los Angeles, California on April 6th

Want to be a part of the discussion, or have a question you’d like to submit? Click here to send in your healthcare question, and if you’re interested in attending one of the three forums left, make sure to check the ‘yes’ button at the bottom.

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