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Health Care that Works for All Americans

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National Health Care Commission Visits Salt Lake City To Hold Hearing

United States Comptroller General To Attend


Jessica Federer
(301) 443-1521
(240) 676-3655


July 21, 2005 – Salt Lake City, Utah – The Citizens’ Health Care Working Group is holding its second regional hearing on health care on July 22, at the Utah State Capitol, to learn about advances in health care technology, health care quality issues, as well as employee and employer issues and initiatives to deal with them. The United States Comptroller General, David M. Walker, will testify at the hearing regarding how the crisis in health care is part of the financial challenges of the United States.

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 with “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 the American people in a dialogue on health care coverage and cost issues.

“This is a great opportunity for Utahns to let policymakers know what they like and don’t like about the current health-care system,” Senator Orrin Hatch (R- UT) said. “There is no question that our system has problems, and we have even more problems when the government tries to impose a one-size-fits-all program on the country. The Working Group’s goal is to bypass all the parochial interests and take this problem right to those who deal with these issues day in and day out. Hopefully, when the process is finished, we will have a national consensus on how best to improve our health-care system.”

“We have much to be proud of with respect to health care in America, but the system isn’t perfect. It doesn’t work for all people, in all areas, all of the time,” said Randall L. Johnson, Chair of the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group and Director, Human Resources Strategic Initiatives, Motorola. “Next year we will be making recommendations to the President and Congress. But for now, we have come to Salt Lake City to listen and to learn.”

The Working Group consists of 14 citizens from diverse backgrounds across the country, in addition to Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt. This regional hearing is the third of five hearings to address innovative state strategies to expand health care coverage and lower health care costs; local community solutions to accessing health care coverage; the role of evidence-based medical practices and the use of technology; and strategies to assist purchasers of health care, including consumers, to be more cost conscious.

Working Group member Brent James, a Salt Lake City resident, physician and vice president of Intermountain Health Care, was instrumental in bringing the Working Group to Utah. He is also a clinical professor at the University of Utah Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and the University of Sydney.

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 provides administrative support as directed by the Medicare Modernization Act.

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