Opinion Columns & Blogs

Where is the U.S. surgeon general?

Amid the Ebola threat and concerns about the nation’s public health systems, an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine asked a good question: Where is the U.S. surgeon general? The answer: We don’t have one. As the editorial noted, President Obama nominated a highly qualified candidate, Vivek Murthy, to be the nation’s next surgeon general, but the nomination has not advanced in the Senate because the National Rifle Association objects to Murthy’s support of gun control. “A highly respected physician with impressive credentials who would have been an outstanding surgeon general was turned away solely for political reasons,” the editorial said. Boris Lushniak has been serving as acting surgeon general but lacks the standing of a confirmed surgeon general. Given that the political environment in Washington, D.C., is unlikely to improve, the editorial urged Obama to start over with a new nominee. – Phillip Brownlee