What exactly does health care reform mean?
More accessible doctors? Cheaper treatment?
If nothing else, former Sen. Bob Dole hopes Monday's health care forum gives political leaders an idea what people think about when they worry about the country's health care system.
"You get kind of a taste of what the problems, what the priorities are," he said in a phone interview from his Washington, D.C., office. "We need to find a way not just to spend more money on the problem, but how to institute some reforms that will lower the cost."
The 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. forum at the Dole Institute of Politics is designed to not only pick the brains of regional health care experts, but also to solicit written input from those attending.
The forum comes as part of the Bipartisan Policy Center's health care initiative, a group effort between Dole and former Sens. Tom Daschle, George Mitchell and Howard Baker to goad Congress into acting on health care reform.
Dole said the gargantuan issue of health care, coupled with the massive amounts of people affected by reform, made it a subject that had to be elevated above partisan bickering.
"Bipartisanship generally works well, particularly in major policies," he said. "I think health care would attract a lot more support from people if they knew both parties were behind it."
Monday's forum, which Dole will mediate, will host three panels: teaching patients to access and use high-value health care, encouraging preventive care and healthier lifestyles and meeting the needs of rural communities.
Eileen McMenamin, spokeswoman for the policy center, said the forums will consist of health care experts from the Midwest, including Kansas, Missouri and Indiana. A select number of people received invitations to the forum, she said, and any remaining seats will be given to the public on a first respond, first served basis.
Members of the public interested in attending may contact the Bipartisan Policy Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.