Health care reform doesn’t have to be a spectator sport

You don’t have to just sit there waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on national health care reform.

You can instead sign up for one of about 40 two-hour conversations in the next several months around Minnesota that will let you talk about your own experience with the real-world balancing act among costs, care and health.

The conversations are being sponsored by the Citizens League and the Bush Foundation on the same model they used last year to let people kick around the state budget dilemma. The discussions will lead to a written report in August to the state’s bipartisan health care reform task force.

That body, in turn, is expected later this year to create a plan for reforming how Minnesota delivers and pays for health care.

No matter what the Supreme Court does with the national health care reform law, the conversation will be valuable, said Citizens League president Sean Kershaw. “We’re really dealing with issues of peoples’ values and priorities. Citizens have a huge role in it.”

Kershaw said the hope at each conversation is to provide basic factual information on health care, but then to “allow people to speak from their experiences.”

So if you want to talk about your experience with the medical system, this is your chance.

The first of the community conversations the Citizens League is hosting is at 6 p.m. today in Minneapolis at the Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall. There’s another one Tuesday in St. Paul at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, and then there’s a series of them around the state. Find a the full calendar, so far, here. The organizers prefer that people register ahead of time, which you can do online.

In addition to the conversations, the Citizens League next week plans to unveil an online discussion as well.

(Disclosure: MPR News’ Ground Level project receives support from the Bush Foundation.)

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