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July 7, 2003

the Hatch/Wyden bill

The Senate has passed a bill that would represent a very important experiment in public deliberation. It is the Wyden-Hatch bill, now section 620 of S. 1, the Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act of 2003. If this provision survives the rest of the legislative process, it will "provide for a nationwide public debate about improving the health care system to provide every American with the ability to obtain quality, affordable health care coverage; and .... provide for a vote by Congress on the recommendations that result from the debate."

A large and diverse commission of stakeholders, experts, and citizens would be appointed that would hold hearings; issue a public "Health Report to the American People"; hold facilitated public deliberations across the country (based on the Report); and then generate final recommendations. The President would be required to comment formally on the results, and Congress would have to hold formal hearings. The bill embodies the most advanced thinking about how to organize public deliberations, and it would be a wonderful showcase.

July 7, 2003 11:32 AM | category: deliberation | Comments


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