CHAT (Choosing Healthplans All Together) is an exercise in participatory decision making designed to engage the public in health care priority setting. Participants work individually and then in groups to distribute a limited number of pegs on a board as they select from a wide range of insurance options. Randomly distributed health events illustrate the consequences of insurance choices. In 1999-2000, the authors conducted fifty sessions of CHAT involving 592 residents of North Carolina. The exercise was rated highly regarding ease of use, informativeness, and enjoyment. Participants found the information believable and complete, thought the group decision-making process was fair, and were willing to abide by group decisions. CHAT holds promise as a tool to foster group deliberation, generate collective choices, and incorporate the preferences and values of consumers into allocation decisions. It can serve to inform and stimulate public dialogue about limited health care resources.

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