Herald Scoop: MIT Economist Gruber Pens Health Reform Comic Book


Christine McConville of The Boston Herald published this delectable scoop yesterday: MIT’s Jonathan Gruber, a leading health economist and adviser to the Obama administration, is writing a long comic book to explain federal health reform to the public.

“I’m going to use the facts to tell the story,” Gruber, 45, told the Pulse yesterday. “I’m the narrator guiding the reader through the law. It’ll have lots of pictures and text.”

Hill and Wang, a division of publishing powerhouse Farrar, Straus and Giroux, plans to release Gruber’s book, tentatively titled “Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How it Works” this fall.

Today, Christine reports that her story “lit up the blogosphere,” including a New York Times blog reader who asked, “This is a joke, right?” Surprise, surprise, many of the multitudinous responses on the Herald’s own Website were hostile to the project, federal health reform and the government in general. Read one: “Can’t wait to see the comic book pictures that show the funny new 15,000 IRS agents collecting money from people already hurting.”

Time magazine’s Swampland blog asks, “Brilliant or bizarre? Maybe both?” The “Economix” blog at The New York Times says mildly, “The comic book seems like a good idea, so long as it’s well executed.”

I’d go a step farther and say, partisan politics aside, it’s a great idea. The more clear, reader-friendly explanations of health care reform and health care economics in general — like the 9-minute Kaiser Family Foundation video above, narrated by NPR’s Cokie Roberts — the better.

Readers, any suggestions for Professor Gruber as he writes??

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  • BetsC12345

    He should talk to the people at CommonCraft.com. They might do the best job.

  • http://wellescent.com/health_forum/topics Wellescent Health

    One concern would be whether those opposed to Big Government would find the effort condescending or insulting and yet another reason to be suspect of the law. For the general public, it could be a useful teaching aid, but this really, really depends on quality execution.

  • Josh Archambault

    Include both positive and negative aspects of the bill. I know Dr. Gruber will have plenty of positives, so a few suggestions for the negatives. Flawed CLASS Act, impact on youth- cross subsidizing insurance for older citizens, burden on state budgets, lack of a doc fix etc.

  • pdpinch

    Will the comic be public domain? If not, then I’d recommend a Creative Commons license. Could lead to some interesting dialog…

  • Amy Lischko

    Donate the profits he makes from the book to help support the reform.