Democratic Rep. John Conyers has sent a letter to his Democratic colleagues to rally opposition to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta being nominated for Surgeon General. Conyers opposes Gupta because he is against single payer universal health care and Conyers has his own candidate in mind.
According to The Hill newspaper Conyers crouched his criticism in concerns about Gupta’s experience, “It is not in the best interests of the nation to have someone like this who lacks the requisite experience needed to oversee the federal agency that provides crucial healthcare assistance to some of the poorest and most underserved communities in America.”
Rep. John Conyers
According to The Detroit Free Press, Conyers has his own candidate in mind, Dr. Herb Smitherman Jr., who is a Detroit public health advocate and assistant dean at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. I think it is fair to raise questions about whether Dr. Gupta is qualified to be Surgeon General.
Gupta is an out of left field choice for the position. He doesn’t have administrative or public sector experience. The one thing he shares with Obama is opposition to a single payer universal health care system. I don’t know what Conyers is thinking, because Obama’s universal healthcare plan definitely is not a single payer government run system.
Why would Obama nominate a doctor for Surgeon General who supports a position that he opposes? I personally believe that we need to figure out a way to give everyone access to the current system, not blow it all up, and not blow it up, and go to a government run model. Conyers has zero chance of getting his single payer system. I do have doubts about Gupta, but I think Conyers is angling to try to get his guy nominated.
Judging from the mixed reaction that the rumors about Gupta have gotten, I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama chooses to go in a different direction. There are more experienced doctors out there, who would do a fine job in the position. I would like to see Obama nominate someone who would tackle the problem of obesity in this country, but that is strictly my own preference.