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The first step on creating health care for the people, by the people. Listening.

Published On February 28, 2020

By: Natalie Davis

Crowd of people

Health care affects all of us, while only a few of us affect health care.

This is core to why we started United States of Care. Our goal is to center health reform on the needs of people by putting aside partisan rhetoric, showing common-sense reform is possible. We want to create solutions that are both for the people and by the people.

Our mission? Make sure every single American has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of health status, social need, or income. We have a unique approach to creating a better, durable, fiscally responsible, and responsive health care system by focusing on what matters:


So, we’re going out on the road to do just that. Through our Real People. Real Talk conversation series we are going around the country and listening to people from all walks of life as they tell us about their experiences, values, and needs. We keep these conversations as open as possible, discarding preconceived notions, and replacing the “convenience” of choosing from pre-selected answers with actual conversations because our stories and experiences don’t often neatly fit inside the checkbox of a multiple-choice questionnaire.

Along the way, we are listening for issues that seem to come up again and again, relatable trends that transcend health care, and around which we can rally for change. This means identifying priorities that are not rooted in the polarizing political fights.

By listening to people’s lived experiences, we believe we can create a roadmap for health care reform that is based on all of our needs. Policymakers partnering with United States of Care are eager to listen with us – to learn where they can make the biggest impact on people’s lives.

So far, we have had over 40 hours of conversations with people – at a kitchen table in San Diego; at a Red Hot and Blue restaurant in Dallas; on the sidewalks of Philadelphia. With people in Missouri to Minnesota, Florida to Washington. We are just getting started.

Through this blog, we hope to share things we find interesting, challenging, heartbreaking, and inspiring (with permission). We want to highlight where health reform opportunities are possible while illustrating common needs and frustrations. Some posts may focus on ideas on what we can do to reform our system, other posts will highlight concepts from conversations that left us curious, and with no answers.

We want to offer this blog as a tool for people to tell their stories about how health care impacts their lives. We recognize people are the experts in their health and how the system treats them. This allows us all to notice our similarities and celebrate the power that comes from harnessing our differences.

We need stories of belonging that move us towards each other, not from each other…Ways of navigating our differences, that deepen our curiosity, that deepen our friendship, that deepen our capacity to disagree.

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet, theologian, and conflict mediator.

Finally, we offer this platform to highlight the corners of the health care system where people are creating change. We will feature profiles of advocates, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community leaders and their work. It is important to highlight places in health care where change is working and to inspire hope that we can transform this system together.

We hope you will learn with us – ask us questions and challenge us when we are missing a perspective or voice, share your stories and what you think is needed most in making a health care system work for us.

One thing that’s become clear from our early listening? “We have a lot of work to do to build a health care system that serves us all.”

United States of Care can bridge the conversation between policymakers and the public, rising above the political rhetoric to build a health care system based on all of our needs.

Let’s listen loudly. Together.