January 28, 2010

Focus Group on Healthcare Reform

Last week I participated in a Focus Group on Healthcare Reform.  First of all, I was surprised that focus groups really do exist.  You know what I mean. 

The focus group was meeting at our local college library and supper was provided.  Okay, I don't get dinner out that much anymore and for that matter dinner out with a bunch of other women rarely happens, so I was looking forward to it.  Oh yeah - and I wanted to see what the other women in the group were going to say about Healthcare Reform. 

Let's face it, there are so many different issues coming at us from the government these days - stimulus packages, healthcare reform, budget cuts, raising of taxes and more and I finally had an opportunity to reflect my opinion at a focus group. Never being one to stick my head in the sand, I have always done my best to keep up to date on current events and I do a lot of research on different issues.

There were a total of 9 women including myself participating in the group and I knew every one there except for the facilitator.  The next two hours were spent in a discussion on healthcare reform and it was spirited at times.  One woman took issue with another woman who was on disability and getting her healthcare through Title 19.  Woman A felt Woman B really should be able to work and get her own healthcare policy as she didn't appear too disabled.  Other women took issue with me on my view point and so on.  We had a woman who was a small business owner, a cancer survivor, a Wal-mart employee, two minister wives and one woman whose husband had been fired at the age of 58 represented in this group. Yes, it was testy at times but the facilitator kept us on task. 

When the meeting was over and as we left the room one major thing happened.  We left our feelings on healthcare reform behind in that room.  Woman B needed a ride home and the first one to offer her a ride was Woman A.  They both were laughing and chatting on the way to Woman A's car.  The women that took issue with me on several points asked me about my kids and such and we were all laughing and having a good time as we exited the library.

In the end, I had a stimulating evening of "sparring" and learning.  I now understand other viewpoints.  I may not agree with them, but I do understand their situations and where they are coming from.  It was wonderful to see old acquaintances and to connect with other women.  We disagreed on so much but we remained friendly and respectful to each other.

And best of all - I got paid $60 to attend the focus group.  Now that is the icing on the cake.

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