The Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy

Healthcare Poll

October 29, 2005

Deliberation Week was capped off with a day-long Citizens Forum in which a random sample of community members from Allegheny County will discuss, deliberate, then take a Deliberative Opinion Poll on Healthcare.

The general topics discussed and surveyed related to healthcare costs, the impact of the reduction of federal Medicaid funds, services for the uninsured, health care for the elderly, better healthcare practices, and the impact of the advances in treatment.

State Budget Cuts and Pennsylvania's Medicaid Program

The goal of the Medicaid Program is to provide services for low-income people in Pennsylvania. As the costs of Medicaid continue to rise, the State faces the possibility of major cuts to Medicaid in order to control the budget.

Although the States must meet minimum requirements to qualify for federal funds, they have considerable leeway to structure their own Medicaid programs. Our State can choose among several unattractive options: appropriate more money, tighten eligibility rules, reduce coverage, and/or cut reimbursement rates. A goal of this local deliberative poll is to assess mechanisms for implementing cuts that will minimize harm to the residents of Pennsylvania.

A Local Initiative: A Commitment to Quality of Care and Cost Reduction

We are a known leader in healthcare research and treatment advances. The region is also a known leader in determining how the quality of care affects the cost of care. The Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative (PRHI) has inaugurated a plan to reduce in-hospital infection rates and, in so doing, improve the quality of care across a whole range of activities. We need to discuss this initiative and assess its potential to impact the national debate on healthcare and healthcare costs.

Agenda for Saturday, October 29


Registration/Survey/Continental Breakfast


Welcome Session (Adamson Wing, 136 Baker Hall)


Move to Small Groups


Small Group Discussion - National Issue




Small Group Discussion - Local Issue


Lunch (Groups can continue for another 15 minutes, if they wish)


Expert Panel


Move to Small Groups


Small Groups Continue/Survey (Groups can continue for another 15minutes)


Plenary Session/Collect Stipends/Reception

Downloads and Links

Presentation materials for this poll can be downloaded in pdf format: National Issues background document; Local Issues background document. Results from the Local Survey and the National Survey are also available.

Expert Panel

Andrew Dick, RAND
Beaufort Longest, Univ. of Pittsbrugh
Peter Perreiah, PRHI
Robert Muder, VA Hospital
Moderator: Stacy Smith, WQED


Major Funding comes from

The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation of Pittsburgh
MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Additional funding and support provided by

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon
Pennsylvania Women in Politics and Public Policy, Chatham College
The RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh Office

Alliance Partners

Coro Center for Civic Leadership and its Fellowship In Local Democracy Program
Health Policy Institute, University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative
Pittsburgh Mediation Center
The League of Women Voters
The Institute of Politics, University of Pittsburgh

Other forms of support provided by:

Humanity Scholars Program, Class of 2009, Carnegie Mellon

Consultants on Local Issues Document

Naida Grunden
Communications Director
Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative

Judith R. Lave, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Health Policy & Management
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh

Beaufort Longest, Ph.D.
Director of the Health Policy Institute
University of Pittsburgh


Small Group Discussion

Expert Panel

© Copyright 2005 Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy