In theory, everyone in the state has the opportunity to tell lawmakers what they think. But in practice, getting to speak at a public hearing at the state Capitol complex, or even reaching a legislator by email or telephone, can be a challenge. Public hearings often draw dozens of lobbyists and members of the public, who have to sign up early in the day and wait around, sometimes into the night, to testify for up to three minutes.

Hoping to help people get their concerns heard, the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut asked consumers to share their thoughts about health care by text message, postcard or online, then conducted follow-up interviews on video with some of those who answered. Among the questions: What are some of your concerns about the health care system? What are some of your ideas to make it better?

“Hope the Lord lets me see 65 so I can get insurance,” one Waterbury woman said, expressing her belief that she wouldn’t get coverage until she was old enough for Medicare.

Here’s what they found:

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To submit your own comments, click here.

The Community Health Center Association of Connecticut represents 13 of the state’s 14 community health centers, which treat thousands of patients who are poor, uninsured, covered by Medicaid or minorities. The project was funded by the Connecticut Health Foundation.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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