Top Takeaways from the Health Care Summit

Linda Dulye's picture

business meeting microphone.jpgYou didn’t need to sit through all seven hours of the recent Bipartisan Health Care Summit to recognize the sometimes awkward and uncomfortable nature of the discussion.

Health care in America is a highly charged issue and it came through on our TV screens.

Despite the occasional jab or long-winded remark, we witnessed open and honest two-way communication in action. Even though the media positioned the summit as mere political theater, we saw four areas where the event succeeded:

  • Face the issues head-on. The president made it clear from the outset that the purpose of the summit was to talk about areas where the two sides agreed on health care reform and to a lesser degree the areas of disagreement.
  • Straight talk. For the most part, members of Congress stayed away from scripts and talking points to talk openly about the issues surrounding health care reform. There were no PowerPoint slides or gimmicks, just a lively debate about the topic at hand.
  • Broad participation. Though not every member of Congress was in the room, the vast number of participants demonstrated the urgency of the issue and the value in having all levels of Congress involved. From the newest members of the House to senior Senators, this was a terrific example of getting more stakeholders rather than fewer involved in the conversation.
  • Listening. We were impressed with the president’s approach to interacting with the participants. He listened carefully, took notes as members of Congress spoke and, as often as possible, let the speaker finish before commenting or asking questions.

No clear resolution came out of the summit and few expected one would emerge. Still, the process showed that two-way communications are pivotal in achieving any organizational goal.


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