CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta has let it be known that he will not be leaving the network to become the next Surgeon General of the United States of America. Gupta’s name had been floated about, but he came under criticism for his opposition to health care reform. The logical choice for Surgeon General would be Howard Dean.
According to the Washington Post, Dr. Gupta didn’t give a reason why he would turn down the job, but my guess is that his views, and the administration’s on health care are not a good match. Gupta has been widely criticized by Democrats for having a very comfortable relationship with the same exact drug companies that are a target of the current Obama healthcare reform. In fact, a bi-partisan bill was introduced in the Senate yesterday to allow the importation of cheaper drugs, which is something that the drug companies have long fought against.
Many critics on the right and left thought Gupta was under qualified, and it appeared that he would have faced a tough confirmation process in the Senate. Gupta was an odd choice for the post, and he probably did Obama a favor by turning down the job. Let’s face it, the last thing this administration needs is another problem with a nominee. I have no idea what the thought process was that led to Gupta being offered the job, but he wasn’t a good pick.
In my mind the best choice for this position would be the former chairman of the DNC, Dr. Howard Dean. I was critical of Dean’s tenure as DNC chair, but he is in step with Obama when it comes to healthcare reform. He would be a credible and outstanding healthcare advocate for the nation. Dean would bring a high profile voice to yet another position that was minimized under the Bush administration. Dean would sail through the confirmation process, and he seems like he should be a no-brainer pick for Obama.