SURGEON GENERAL: Senate Clears Way For Satcher Approval
In a vote earlier today, the Senate confirmed Dr. David Satcher's nomination to be surgeon general (C-SPAN, 2/10). Dr. Satcher was cleared 63 to 35, with two Senators not voting. Writing in a USA Today op-ed piece, Satcher's key opponent, Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO), states that "Satcher comes to the Senate under a cloud of ethical controversy, amid clear signals that he would advance a politicized agenda as 'the nation's family doctor.'" Ashcroft writes, "Satcher's record as director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) demonstrates a failure to meet the highest standards of ethical conduct, compassion and commitment to a nonpolitical agenda" (2/10).
A USA Today editorial expresses strong support for Satcher. "To quiet abortion opponents who held his nomination hostage, he's promised to avoid divisive issues. He needn't crusade on either side of the abortion issue, but shying away from controversy ill serves a nation that has benefited from a frank approach to medical issues. That's the surgeon general's job. Three years without someone to lead the discussion is long enough" (2/10).
Does Anyone Care?
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Cato Institute science director Michael Gough and Advancement of Sound Science Coalition Executive Director Steven Milloy argue that those in debate should simply "forget the whole thing." They ask, rhetorically, if anyone has noticed the three-year absence of a surgeon general, or been adversely affected by the absence. "Given the surgeon general's job description, there's no reason to expect him to have any impact on the nation's health," they write (2/10).