I know this is an infection prevention blog, despite it being only my second day on watch, but I thought I'd wade into the "controversies" end of things. My friend Cary Gross, a physician and researcher from New Haven, helped organize a grass roots event for physicians to support our patients and the Senate healthcare bill. I met with aids for Senators Dodd (CT), Mikulski (MD) and Harkin (IA) and focused on the issues surrounding the comparative-effectiveness research portions of the bill. Specifically, the proposed new non-governmental Institute which could block all funding for 5 years from researchers who attempt to publish findings that the Institute doesn't approve of. I also brought up the lack of funding for antibacterial resistance research- both drug discovery for Gram-negative rods and infection control. I'm not sure how to bring down costs in a post-antibiotic world.
At the end of the day we had a press conference with Senators Reid, Schumer, Murray and Durbin. They were all excited to hear from people that thought they were doing a good job - which they are. Cary and Stan gave fantastic speeches and I thought Stacy's comment about the 'perfect being the enemy of the good' was spot on. It looks like the bill will go to conference and there will be reform! Hopefully before the holidays...and you know, I've had patients with medical charts longer than 2000 pages, so I don't know what the big deal is.