Obama pushes harder on health and the end of pain at MGH

From MGH mural


 I’m an early riser and tend to get up on Sunday and read through the Times and the Globe. Lots of health stuff, starting with a Globe story on how Obama’s going to get more involved in creating and promoting the health reform bill.


 This weekend, Organizing for America – the president’s former national campaign organization, now run through the Democratic National Committee to support his policies – kicked off a months-long effort to build ground-level support for a healthcare overhaul. At the house parties, organizers read from talking points, urging those in attendance to get involved, echoing Obama’s contention in his weekly radio and Internet address that lowering costs and improving access to quality healthcare is “a necessity we can’t postpone any longer.”

 The GlobeIdeas” section also had a piece by Mike Jay on the introduction of anesthesia, focusing on the unexpected role pain plays in health care. Also check out the letters to the editor on profits at non-profit hospitals.

 Before 1846, the vast majority of religious and medical opinion held that pain was inseparable from sensation in general, and thus from life itself. Though the idea of pain as necessary may seem primitive and brutal to us today, it lingers in certain corners of healthcare, such as obstetrics and childbirth, where epidurals and caesarean sections still carry the taint of moral opprobrium.


  The Times also had a front page storyon the Obama push.

His hope is to provide what his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, called “air cover” for lawmakers to adopt his priorities. It is a gamble by the White House that Mr. Obama can translate his approval ratings into legislative action.

“Obviously,” Mr. Emanuel said, “the president’s adoption of something makes it easier to vote for, because he’s — let’s be honest — popular, and the public trusts him.”

But as Mr. Obama wades into the details of the legislative debate — a process that began last week when he released a letter staking out certain specific policy positions for the first time — he will face increasingly difficult choices and risks.

Times writer Sheryl Gay Stolberg did a lot of health reporting before she covered politics.

But when I Google her, I just get tons of rants against the Times. (Sometimes the Internet and comments sections of blogs seem overrun by the mean and the clueless.)  

 The Times also ran a staff editorial on “Paying for Universal Health Coverage.”

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