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Blog: Olympic health service tribute inspires policy wonks

The usually apolitical artistic sequence featured in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games turned some heads among Washington policy wonks, this year.

Julie Barnes, director of health policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, described some surprise about the sequence that lavished praise on the British National Health Service, during her opening remarks this week at a Washington health policy gathering on “Our Health Care Future: What's Next After the Supreme Court Decision?”

“It was a little surprising; a little different,” the former acting director of the health policy program at the liberal New America Foundation said.“Not only did they have a really long dance number about the British healthcare system but they decided it was a good idea to take those poor sick children, put them high up on beds, and then had a bunch of scary movie and fairy tale monsters come scare the heck out of them,” she joked.

Barnes said the BPC jokingly considered recreating the sequence this week using its interns in the place of the children—offering dancing by healthcare professionals, and featuring its own version of the show's monsters.

“We just call them the 'fiscal cliff,' 'looming sequester' and 'uncontrollable healthcare costs,'” she said.

Follow Rich Daly on Twitter @MHRDaly.
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