Recently I’ve written blog posts about med students writing poetry, physicians using puppets, and physicians using comic strips as therapeutic tools. These types of stories fascinate me. I love to see our industry stretching itself and reaching beyond current boundaries. If we pay attention, we’ll see that there are brilliant people out there innovating every day. That excites me and fuels my passion for this business. Well, today’s post is about an economist from MIT who is using the comic book genre to explain health care reform. The story is currently featured on NPR’s Health Blog.
Jonathan Gruber, the author of the Healthcare Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works, is the Director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a Research Associate. He is a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health Economics. All of this in addition to serving on the faculty of MIT.
According to his bio, Gruber was a key architect of Massachusetts’ ambitious health reform effort, and in 2006 became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine. He was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama Presidential campaigns and was called by the Washington Post, “possibly the [Democratic] party’s most influential health-care expert.”
Gruber’s comic book is illustrated by Nathan Schreiber, writer and artist of the Xeric award-winning independent comic series and graphic novel, Power Out.
One of the really cool parts of this story is that Gruber did not set out to create a comic book. It was his publisher’s idea to deliver this message via a graphic format. Gruber wasn’t sold on the idea but spoke with his 17-year-old son who is a reader of graphic novels. It was the conversation with his son helped persuade him to try this medium.
The reviews for Gruber and Schreiber’s collaboration have been glowing. Here’s one example from renowned economist, David Cutler:
“If you want to learn about health care reform, you can do no better than to learn from the master. Jonathan Gruber shows how health care reform works in a way that everyone can understand. Read this book. You will not regret it.” — David Cutler, Professor, Department of Economics and Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
You can learn more about Healthcare Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works and order a copy for yourself, by clicking on this link. I just ordered my copy from Amazon.