Mainz Citizen Conference 2013

The citizen conference „Decisions on distribution in health care policy – who should decide and how?“ took place at the University of Mainz and the Favorite Parkhotel in September of 2013. On two weekends, twenty citizens of Mainz discussed the question of just decision-making procedures in health care policy. The citizen conference was an open-ended procedure meant to give citizens the chance to form an opinion in discussion with others and to play a part in the political debate.

Subject of discussion

The subject of discussion was which boards and decision-making procedures are adequate to determine the catalogue of benefits of statutory health insurances in Germany. While such procedures and boards already exist, they are not well-known to the public. We reckon that the establishment and organization of these boards and procedures require a public debate.

Conference target

The citizen conference’s target was to identify the concrete demands of citizens for decision-making procedures and boards, by means of which criteria they and their results are judged, and how citizens themselves would design such a decision-making process: Which line-up and which institutional features would they choose for which reasons?

As the organizers, we were convinced that almost every human-being has dealt with the question of how to make the best decision in a group. From personal experience in family, at the workplace, during academic studies or with friends, laymen have an idea of just and constructive decision-making procedures. This experience and knowledge is to be included in public debate.

Citizens’ task

The organizers gave the citizens the task to develop concrete proposals for the design of a board which determines the catalogue of benefits of statutory health insurances in Germany.

Conference procedure

On September 13th, the conference was opened with a celebratory launch event in the “Old Mensa”-building at the University of Mainz.

Both the mayor of Mainz, Michael Ebling, and the vice president of the Johannes Gutenberg-University, Prof. Dr. Mechthild Dreyer, welcomed the citizens. Afterwards, the citizens were introduced to the theme by three expert talks (by Katharina Kieslich, Sabine Stumpf and Katharina Böhm).

On September the 14th/15th and 28th/29th, the participants came together at the Favorite Parkhotel in Mainz to discuss and ultimately develop a collective vote.

The aina was presented to the public on October the 2nd 2013 in the council chamber of Mainz and forwarded to several policy-makers and multipliers by the organizers.

The citizen conference was accompanied by Joachim Fahrwald as an external and neutral moderator.

Budget and financing

The citizen conference was aided by the VolkswagenStiftung with a budget of 50 000 Euros. The VolkswagenStiftung is one of the largest foundations in Europe and the largest scientific sponsor in Germany. It is not a business foundation but an independent, charitable foundation under private law.

The subsidies are generated from the foundations capital (currently about 2,6 Million Euros).


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