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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Catch-Up: Good Stuff To Watch, Hear, Read and Sing

Catch-Up: Good Stuff To Watch, Hear, Read and Sing

February 7, 2009

It's been a busy week here, so here's a catch up of some good stuff I've been holding onto for a few days:

1. Watch: No Wavering on Health Reform. After new House Speaker DeLeo made an off-the-cuff comment on health reform, NECN caught up with him, Senate President Murray, and Governor Patrick. All re-affirmed their strong commitment to keeping health reform going. The report below also includes bonus footage of the Oral Health Heroes event Monday.

2. Hear: Health Reform and Artists. The Massachusetts Artists Foundation, sponsor of the Healthcare for Artists site, has been an active participant in the ACT!! coalition. Artists have been unique beneficiaries of the Chapter 58 reforms. Radio journalist Karen Brown covered the issue for NPR's "Day to Day" last week. You can hear her story here.

3. Read: Gruber on why universal coverage now. Connector Board member and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber explains in NEJM that the economic downturn makes comprehensive health reform more urgent than ever.

... broad subsidies that make affordable health insurance available to lower-income families would improve not only the health of these families but also the health of our economy, by freeing up funds that the families could spend on other consumer goods. Indeed, this dynamic is exactly what we saw when Medicaid was expanded to cover additional low-income children and pregnant women in the late 1980s and early 1990s. My colleague Aaron Yelowitz and I found that the families that gained insurance coverage through these expansions substantially increased their spending on other consumer goods — by an average of about $800 per year in today’s dollars. This sizable effect could go a long way toward offsetting the decline in consumer spending that is marring the current economic landscape.

Gruber also explains how coverage reform will improve the labor market, by allowing for more job mobility, create high quality jobs, and reduce future deficits by bring cost control to the fore.

4. Sing: 50 Ways To Leave Big Pharma. Adriane Fugh-Berman, head of the PharmedOut project, has written a very singable parody of Paul Simon's 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. Sing it, DPH!

The problem’s over-promoted meds, she said to me
You know we’ve got to treat our patients carefully
I'd like to help you to become pharma- free
There must be fifty ways to leave Big Pharma

She said it isn’t education reps provide
And what they know about you they’re unlikely to confide
What they want to do is to control what you prescribe
There must be fifty ways to leave Big Pharma
Fifty ways to leave Big Pharma

Have the reps take a hike, Mike
Buy your own pen, Jen
You don't need a free meal, Neil
Just get yourself free
Throw the samples away, Kay
You don't have to use new drugs
Pay your own CME, Lee
And get yourself free (2x)

She said it grieves me so that you’re a KOL
Masking marketing as education doesn’t serve us well
I said I resent that but would you please explain
About the fifty ways

She said we owe it to our own integrity
Together we can throw industry out of CME
And then she pinched me and I realized she probably was right
There must be fifty ways to leave Big Pharma
Fifty ways to leave Big Pharma

Oooh, Have the reps take a hike, Mike
Buy your own pen, Jen
You don't need a free meal, Neil
Just listen to me
Throw the samples away, Kay
You don't have to use new drugs
Pay your own CME, Lee
And get yourself free (2x)