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Health Care that Works for All Americans

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Citizens' Health Care Working Group Holds First Regional Hearing

Working Group Press Release: June 7, 2005

June 7, 2005 -Jackson, Miss. -Tomorrow, June 8, the Citizens' Health Care Working Group will hold its first regional hearing at the Thad Cochran Center, Jackson Medical Mall, Jackson, Mississippi. The Working Group is a nonpartisan group authorized by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, charged with developing recommendations for the President and Congress to provide U.S. citizens, as the subtitle of its authorizing statute states, "health care that works for all Americans." The Working Group will develop these recommendations by holding hearings, developing and issuing the Health Report to the American People, and using that report to engage in a dialogue with the American people on health care coverage and cost issues.

"Today marks our first regional hearing, and the beginning of a conversation with the American people. We have come to Mississippi to listen and to learn," said Randall L. Johnson, Director, Human Resources Strategic Initiatives, Motorola, Chair of the Working Group. "We intend to learn from local citizens and health care leaders about the health care issues they are facing. Further, we expect to learn about initiatives that have been implemented to address these issues."

The Working Group, which consists of 14 citizens from across the country, in addition to Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, was named February 28, 2005 and to date has held two meetings. The Jackson hearing represents the first of several regional hearings outside the greater Washington area. Among the topics to be addressed at these hearings are:

  1. Innovative state strategies to expand health care coverage and lower health care costs;
  2. Local community solutions to accessing health care coverage;
  3. The role of evidence-based medical practices and the use of technology, and
  4. Strategies to assist purchasers of health care, including consumers, to be more cost conscious.

Aaron Shirley, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Mississippi, a Working Group Member from Jackson, was instrumental in bringing the Group to the Thad Cochran Center, Jackson Medical Mall.

Following release of the Health Report to the American People later this year, the Working Group will begin to reach out to the American people in an effort to promote national dialogue on health care. The objective will be to identify preferred solutions that will lead to "health care that works for all Americans." Outreach will include, among other means, community meetings and a Web site.

Editor's note: The Citizens' Health Care Working Group is an independent body whose members were selected by the Comptroller General of the United States. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has provided administrative support as directed by the Medicare Modernization Act.

For more information, contact the Working Group at (301) 443-1502.