The United States finally has a new a Surgeon General. The U.S. Senate confirmed Vivek Murthy as the new Surgeon General in a 51-43 vote in what is being hailed as a “political miracle” to spite objections from NRA (National Riffle Association) and certain republicans who have delayed the confirmation and left the United States without a Surgeon General for over a year and a half.
Vivek Murthy was first nominated by President Obama in November of 2013 to fill the post that had been vacant since July of that year. His confirmation was held up by NRA backed republicans and heavy lobbying from the NRA because Murthy has said that gun violence in the United States is a public health crisis and a year before his nomination he tweeted that he was “Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA.”
Ironically, his assertion that politicians were afraid of the NRA was not too far off as the National Riffle Association threatened members of congress saying that any vote for the new Surgeon General would earn them low rankings on the NRA’s scoring of government officials which could hurt them come election time, especially in red states, which is what had a number of Democrats holding back on their confirmation vote as well.
The delay in confirmation for the new Surgeon General, left a power vacuum that allowed the CDC to step in during the Ebola scare and the disastrous effect of the CDC’s poor handling of the situation led to a lot of criticism of the current administration as well as the CDC itself which was already under heavy fire in some of the media about alleged leaks from a CDC whistleblower concerning the link between vaccines and autism. Their poor management of the situation lead President Obama to appoint Ron Klain to coordinate the health scare while the nation awaited confirmation on the new Surgeon General.
Vivek Murthy has a distinguished medical career. After graduating with honors from Harvard’s Pre-Med, Murthy continued to Yale Medical School where he received his medical degree. The new Surgeon General also received an MBA in Health Care Management from Yale as well. He would later return to Harvard Medical School as an instructor. Murthy was in practice at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and served in a number of health related charities including VISION which focused on HIV/AIDS education in the U.S. And India. Before his appointment as Surgeon General, Murthy was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by President Obama in 2011 and was a founder and the president of Doctors for America, a group of over 15,000 doctors and medical students in the U.S. Who were calling for massive health care reform across the nation. Astonishingly enough, Murthy achieved all of this before the age of 40.
The confirmation of the new Surgeon Geneneral is a historic one, not only because it took what is being a called a political miracle to get passed and was one of the longest confirmations of any administration, but Murthy is among the youngest ever to serve for the post and he is also the first Surgeon General of Indian heritage. But to spite all the controversy on gun control issue or the Affordable Care Act, America’s new Surgeon General plans to take on U.S.’s number one health care problem, Obesity, which costs the nation $190 billion every year and contributes to the leading cause of death in the United States.