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CNN: Team Obama Eyes Gupta for Surgeon General

Posted on Jan 6, 2009

Although the fact that his sponsoring network, CNN, reported this rumor makes it a tad suspect, it wouldn’t be the first time that the concept of self-promotion was associated with the name of Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s resident brain surgeon and talking head, who has apparently been approached by the Obama squad to potentially fill the position of U.S. surgeon general. From neurosurgeon to Clinton aide to embedded reporter to surgeon general candidate: one man’s dramatic story—coming up soon, no doubt, on CNN.


Gupta was in Chicago, Illinois, in November to meet with President-elect Barack Obama on the matter, sources said.

Gupta has declined comment.

The transition team is impressed with the combination of Gupta’s past government experience, as a White House fellow in 1997 and a special adviser to then-first lady Hillary Clinton, along with his medical career as a neurosurgeon and his communication skills, the transition source said.

Gupta is a member of the staff and faculty of the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He regularly performs surgery at Emory University Hospital and at Grady Memorial Hospital, where he serves as associate chief of neurosurgery.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, January 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

The problem is that in the USA medicine has gone from a profession to a business.  The rise of private insurance firms and overseers assures that profits come first.  While physician fees are high, the reimbursement schedules that dictate insurance payout is substantially a small percentage of those fees and yet doctors still make a nice living——is there something wrong here?!  But what’s even worse is that patients with no insurance get a bill for the full amount, while those with insurance the doctor receives only a small percentage of what is normally referred to as “usual and customary charges.” It would seem to be ass backwards in that those without insurance should get a break while those with insurance pay the full fee.  Of course this would lead to higher premiums and less people with insurance who would then get a break on the fee.  What this all leads to is the need for a single payer system under the aegis of the government.  It is interesting that the US authorities rail against the socialized medical system in Canada and Europe, yet if you ask the citizens of those countries they would never change their system for our profit oriented one!  I have experience with the system in France and it is A-One—-everybody whether citizen or foreigner gets treatment and no bill.  The hospitals are not as pretty as those in the US, but just as well equipped and effective.

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By samosamo, January 7, 2009 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

Gupta needs to stay where he is, being a celebrity pundit on a mainstream media channel spewing corporate puke. But once again, what I don’t want will be what we get, I am sad to say.

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By Leisure Suit Larry, January 7, 2009 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Michael Moore made mince-meat out of this guy on national TV.

Gupta is the epitome of entreanched corporate medicine.

The Obama administration is on track to make Carter look profesional. 


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By G.Anderson, January 6, 2009 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment

Since my view of medicine is somewhat different, it doesn’t really matter to me who Obama picks as surgeon general. 

I believe that Western Medicine does an excellent good job treating gun shot wounds and with emergency medicine, but a poor job treating chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, psychiatric illness and drug addiction. It’s been my perception that treatment seems to follow the money.

Our medical apparatus is likely to limp along for a while, no matter what happens, until the question of who is going to pay for it all gets full attention.

Maybe Sanjay was picked because he could be useful in media selling the upcoming reforms, both to Doctors and the public.

This will undoubtedly work for some people but for others like me, who see him as little more than a propagandist for the medical establishment, you can bet I won’t be watching, or listening to anything he says. Just, as now, his blog on CNN is the only page I avoid. 

Too many recent death dealing catastrophes by the medical establishment have been ignored or swept under the rug, while Dr. Gupta helmed the medical page at CNN.  His chief function there seemed to be to keep the panic down.

The HMO’s are worried that their profits are at stake, and so are the share holders of those same companies. Everyone wants to make lots of money treating sick people, however no one can afford to pay for it.

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By CJ, January 6, 2009 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Olbermann just reported on this—seriously, by appearances. I believe this report, knowing Obama’s penchant for manipulation of public via media. He’s extremely skilled in the fine art of using media, and Gupta is media guy, as Keith also noted. (And a nice-lookin’ fella too.)

Olbermann interviewed some guy as to prospect of Gupta’s appointment. That guy talked of how Gupta’s got what it takes to advocate for health policy. Guy was right. We know where Gupta stands—with Obama in favor of profiteering by health insurers.

Not to mention fascistic notion that each has some kind of social obligation to take better care of him- or her-self, thereby remaining forever young as well as in order to lower healthcare costs. This absurd notion is another fine example of blaming victims, but worse because cost is claimed to be social. When did all these people become socialists? But never mind if socialism can also be used for purposes of propaganda.

Leaving aside “blaming victims,” if Gupta and his ilk are going to preach of “social cost,” then they might also advocate across-the-board Medicare. But that’s not what they do. They preach “preventive” in terms of “social cost” and then advocate on behalf of insurers, who privately profit from both good and bad health. Preferably only good health, since that way no paying out on claims as premiums are collected and then invested. Insurance companies are banks whose principle business is lending.

By any name, scheme is racketeering likes of which old Mob never dreamed.

There’s also prevailing belief in the fountain of youth as likes of Gupta pretend that every living being ever born into the real world doesn’t start dying at the same moment. No thing that ever lived ever got younger. Worse yet, by current, infantile cultural belief, to age is practically to become criminal.

Leaders never think through what they advocate because they remain unaware of underlying premises, whether capitalist or even aesthetic in the case of healthcare.

Gupta is the same guy who was taken down by Michael Moore when he attempted a hit job on Moore’s film, “Sicko.” Some might recall the whole episode, which led eventually to a “debate” between Moore and Gupta on CNN. It was Moore who had his facts straight, not Gupta, who wound up looking damn silly. Gupta is no way Moore’s intellectual equal, however good a surgeon he might be. We need surgeons of all kinds but no one should confuse technicians for thinkers. We need auto mechanics just as much but don’t go around thinking them more brainy than anyone else, though I expect most any auto mechanic is brighter and maybe even more knowledgeable than any doctor, never mind politician. (Look under the hood of any newer car to discover real complexity.)

Whether Gupta is appointed doesn’t matter so much. What does matter is that even rumor is but one more indicator that Barack Obama has not much in mind in the way of actual change. When even slightly radical change is so desperately needed.

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By Mayponce, January 6, 2009 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me? Let’s appoint this CNN hack and known defender of American’s disastrous HMO’s to oversee America’s health care policy. What a brilliant idea. Well at least he’s brown. That’s change you can believe in…..

Are any of you milquetoast liberals regretting your messianic support of this HMO/Wall Street/AIPAC fellating lapdog? Is there anything he can do or say that will make you wroth? Somehow I doubt it.

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By Joe, January 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This would be yet another terrible pick if Obama selects Gupta.
Does anyone remember when Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko” was released and Gupta ran a hit piece on CNN?  The piece was so ridiculous that CNN ended up having to apologize to Michael Moore for lying about his movie.
Frankly I’m not a huge fan of Moore, I think his movies are sloppy.  Which means that if Gupta had to apologize to Moore for getting HIS facts wrong, then he is seriously unqualified and or biased in the healthcare debate.  Either way not a good pick

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