Sunday, February 01, 2009

Surgeon General

I received an email from Congressman John Conyers urging me to make it clear that the proposed appointment of Sanjay Gupta to the position of Surgeon General was unacceptable. Although his timing for this email was a bit odd, his position certainly was not. Congressman Conyers made it clear at the first hint of naming of Dr. Gupta to the post that he didn't like the idea of appointing someone who was so cozy with the pharmaceutical and medical establishment to this position.

Here's what the congressman has to say at his web site about Dr. Gupta:

An apparent trial balloon has been floated to fill the post of Surgeon General in the name of Sanjay Gupta. He is a health commentator for CNN who dispenses medical advice with a breezy style appropriately suited to the brief two-minute segments of television. However, the TV Doctor has been criticized by many for his close ties to the pharmaceutical and health care industries and for not disclosing the sources of his speaking fees which command up to $50,000 per appearance. Moreover, his strong criticisms of reform beg the question whether his cozy relationships with the health care industry would compromise his ability to lead the U.S. Public Health Service and serve as a vocal advocate for change.

Dr. Gupta's unfair and outright misleading critique of Michael Moore's Sicko is evidence enough of his bias when it comes to health care reform. That he is commanding rather sizable speaking fees also suggests that he just might not be as interested in promoting universal health care access as he is in promoting Sanjay Gupta.

Congressman Conyers has provided a form that allows you to make your feelings known on this potential appointment. If you agree that Dr. Gupta isn't the right person for the job, click on the link provided above.

And while you're there, click on the "Health Care" button to see the plan the congressman has introduced for a single payer system. (Or you can just click here.)

Remember: the government works for us, but it only does so when we make it clear what we expect.



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