Kinda like a deal-breaker for me. Buried at the end of The Hill's article everyone is citing on the Conyers vs. Gupta vs. Moore skirmish over the trial balloon set up to test reaction of a proposed nomination of the CNN correspondent/brain surgeon as Surgeon General is a one sentence shoe-flinging message of mass distraction:
"Conyers contends that Gupta is against universal healthcare coverage."This tidbit was also something thrown away at the end of an interview with Rep. Conyers (D-MI) on the Bill Press Show, (mp3 link).
There's a lot to say in favor of the Gupta appointment -- the ability to translate complicated medical/political issues to the public in an engaging and informative manner ranks right near the top. Gupta has that skill set in spades. As deserving as Howard Dean is of a plum position like this, Gupta is a better communicator -- if he's communicating the right message.
Jane Hamsher notes that Dean himself (via Sam Stein) says Gupta is already performing much of the same tasks the Surgeon General is required -- "explaining medical issues of public concern in a manner that the public could understand."
Until I heard that Gupta was not in favor of universal health care (my number one issues since Bush The Elder's administration) I just chalked this kerfluffle up to circular firing squad between members of a Michigan Militia (Gupta is a UofM allum, Moore a UofM drop-out and Conyers is from Detroit). Now I think it matters, big time.
If we had a better media, the question would have already be asked of Doctor Gupta. As it is, in our celebrity obsessed, gossip/conflict centric media, a fundamental question like his support of the PEOTUS's policy agenda has been lost in the shuffle of fluff.
So, is Conyers just talking through his hat, making stuff up or drawing conclusions from Gupta's bone-headed challenge of Moore's movie Sicko (for which Gupta later apologized); or has even a preliminary inquisition been made of the celebrity doctor by the Obama transition team?
Does Doctor Sanjay Gupta support universal health care? It's a simple question. It should have been the very first thing anybody asked.
Hey, even if he wasn't a big supporter of Obama's plan to reinvent the medical industry, as long as he pledges to get behind the President Elect's plan now he's a way better pick than Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura. I'm just saying.