The irrational individuals got up and walked out to the sidewalk at the start long before Senator Bingaman even showed up for the meeting. Held in the Albuquerque Convention Center the ground rules were set early. Team facilitation was used to make sure that the debate stayed civil. Consensus-based questions were asked that required thoughtful answers. There were ten teams each with around twenty two members and they were allowed to ask three questions outlined and written by group consensus.
I visited most of the groups and three questions kept coming up at each team.
1. Will you support the public option?
2. How will you pay for this reform plan?
3. How will you achieve universal coverage?
These three questions were turned into mission statements for the groups
Senator Bingaman made sure to explain exactly what the public option was and to point out that he had help write it. He wants voters to understand that it is not Medicaid but a option that would allow people to buy insurance from a government run system that was non-profit and charged low cost premiums which would cover payouts and administration cost. He said that those individuals who could not afford insurance would get an advanced benefit that would help them to pay for their insurance. At present people getting help would be anyone below 300% of poverty line in the senate bill and 400% in the house bill.
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