WASHINGTON President Barack Obama's administration will organize healthcare forums across the United States in the coming weeks to involve Americans and local policy makers in a push for reform, the White House said on Friday.
Obama vowed on Thursday to break the political stalemate that has blocked past efforts and pass a comprehensive plan to cut healthcare costs and expand insurance coverage this year.
The regional meetings, which will take place in California, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Vermont in March and early April, are meant to gather ideas from local communities about how to fix the system.
"The forums will bring together diverse groups of people all over the country who have a stake in reforming our health care system and ask them to put forward their best ideas about how we bring down costs and expand coverage for American families," Obama said in a statement.
"The time for reform is now and these regional forums are some of the key first steps toward breaking the stalemate we have been stuck in for far too long."
The events will be hosted by the participating states' governors and will include doctors, elected officials from the Democratic and Republican parties, and "everyday" citizens, the White House said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Mohammad Zargham)