Most health policy meetings are a dull gray snooze of business suits talking data. They seem a million miles removed from making sick people healthy. But this week in Washington, D.C., some of those meetings was enlivened by a sudden flash of color.
The back of one woman's suit jacket bore a painting, a Renoir-like portrait of a mother and child. A man's blazer showed him reborn after years of despair. Another woman's jacket portrayed a young man holding his organ donor card. A petite redhead's jacket blazed with a scarlet letter "A."
It was an insurrection of sorts, the latest incarnation of something called the Walking Gallery. The paintings on the back of jackets tell tale about the wearers' odysseys through the labyrinth of the American health care system.
The paintings speak of struggle, frustration and loss. But there's also perseverance, great love and triumph in the face of tragedy.