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Between April and July 2012, more than 2,000 Minnesotans came together in more than 40 community conversations called Citizen Solutions to share their concerns about and ideas for fixing health care in the state.
The results of the meeting were presented in August to the Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force, which was charged with reviewing the state’s health care system as a whole and tackling issues such as how to hold down costs and deliver quality care. The Task Force released its final recommendations to Governor Dayton on Thursday, December 13.
A public opinion poll recently affirmed Citizen Solutions participants' perspectives about health and healthcare in Minnesota. Wilder Research tested these perspectives on the broader public and found that the thoughts and ideas of Citizen Solutions participants ring true for a majority of Minnesotans. They found common ground on three Principles for Action to reform health and healthcare in Minnesota:
1. Minnesotans want to be empowered to co-manage their health. Public opinion polling found 91 percent support for this idea, yet nearly one in three Minnesotans say they don’t know how to navigate the system to do so.
2. Cost is the biggest barrier to health. In both the Citizen Solutions forums and the public opinion poll, people overwhelmingly cited cost as the single greatest barrier to achieving health and accessing care.
3. Minnesotans want a focus on prevention. The public opinion poll found that 91 percent of Minnesotans want to see more incentives to support healthy choices. Citizen Solutions participants also voiced a strong desire for greater support for prevention activities.
Learn more about Citizen Solutions:
These community conversations were designed to engage a cross-section of Minnesotans from different ages, political persuasions and personal perspectives in a thoughtful conversation about the future of health care. Participants in the Citizen Solutions events were recruited and supported by a broad, bipartisan and growing network of organizations outside of the traditional health policy networks. Citizen Solutions meetings were held in communities throughout the state and in varying locations, with additional constituency-specific meetings for business employees, organizations, and communities with unique needs.
Citizen Solutions was supported by the Bush Foundation with InCommons, in partnership with the Citizens League and a broad and growing coalition that understand the need for a new, citizen-led perspective to inform the state’s future health policy.
Small groups worked through exercises aimed at answering such questions as "What does health mean?," captured in the videos Exploring Trade-Offs and Defining Health (or see a fact sheet about how the participants defined "health"). You can read Citizen Solutions participant Michael Zdychnec's blog post, see photos from the meetings or watch other videos taken at the meetings in North Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Rochester and Worthington.
You can also see a complete archive of all discussions and materials at health.citizing.org.
Citizens came to consensus on three principles for action to guide the Task Force in its planning. They ask the Task Force to:
In addition to the full report, there is also an executive summary, an appendix that gives the polling data from all the meetings, the summary of teen discussions and a summary of all the online activity around this project from CitiZing.org.
The Foundation supported Citizen Solutions as part of its community engagement strategy. It believes that empowering Minnesotans to share their health care experiences and perspectives in respectful ways outside the rancor of partisan conversations is the best path to a sustainable solution to such a complicated problem. We are working to hear from a cross-section of Minnesotans—small business owners, farmers, parents, seniors and more—what they want the future of our health care system to look like.