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Commentology

Mitch came to the defense of Sanjay Gupta in the thread on Maggie Mahar’s post “Doubts About Gupta for Surgeon General.

“I guess I see this differently.  One, Gupta is one of the most respected surgeons in the country in his field.  Two, his work on TV makes him a natural communicator with the public, which we haven’t had for a very long time.  Three, using his TV work to condemn him pretty much says that anyone who’s been in TV should be automatically disqualified for government work.  Four, he talked about Anna Nicole Smith because that was his job; not everyone gets to pick and choose what they do or don’t want to do at work.  Five, Moore did fudge some of the facts, and if you don’t believe me, ask people in Canada, England, and Australia that live in larger communities how long it takes them to get major procedures unless they pay for it themselves.  And six, so he’s against medical marijuana; not every doctor agrees on every single thing.  What’s happened to qualifications as guideposts for whether someone is qualified for a position or not?  From where I sit, he’s imminently more qualified for the post of surgeon general than Leon Panetta is qualified to be the head of the CIA; true, it’s not a medical comparison, but it’s valid nonetheless.  Sounds like a lot of jealousy to me from no-name, if possibly qualified, physicians, who wish it were them than Dr. Gupta.”

Richard Reece MD had this response to Roger Collier’s Sunday morning post “The Siren Song of Public Programs …”

In their frenzy for public programs to expand cover to all, wonk enthusiasts removed from reality conveniently forget the key to making expansion work: physicians. Coverage without physician access is meaningless. And the only federal progam doctors hate more than Medicare is Medicaid. Both are bureaucratic landmines, and both pay considerally less than private coverage.

Microsoft’s Bill Crounse MD added this on Brian Klepper’s post
nominating Dr. George Lundberg as an alternative to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. (“George Lundberg, MD for Surgeon General“):

“Dr.
George Lundberg would be a terrific Surgeon General. He is not only an
icon of our industry, but a very nice man. It was my pleasure to work
with him from time to time during years of anchoring television
programs and specials for Lifetime Medical Television and also for the
AMA. He’s a class act. I can also say that, having been a physician
broadcaster for much of my career, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has managed to do a
first-rate job balancing journalistic integrity with the ratings-driven
demands of television. Each candidate would bring unique strengths to
the position of Surgeon General.”

The
big question in my mind is why either George or Sanjay would want the
job. With the exception of Dr. Koop (who was also a master of media)
most SG’s have been pretty much irrelevant and largely forgettable.
Maybe that makes the case for why we need a Surgeon General of George’s
or Sanjay’s caliber. Perhaps the best idea would be to extract the DNA
of each and clone the perfect candidate; highly intelligent,
unflappable, scientific, academic, convincing, uncompromising, and
totally savvy with media old and new.”

Matthew’s post “Cats and Dogs: Can we find unity on health care IT change?” drew this response from CCHIT’s Mark Leavitt, the target of the wrath of several commenters:

“Let’s
get to the bottom of this get to the ‘meat’ of this dog/cat melee.  As
health IT ascended to become a topic of national policy in the past few
years, it simultaneously became politicized.  Now there have always
been vigorous debates in health IT —  best-of-breed vs single vendor,
client-server vs web, Health 2.0 vs provider EHRs — and these should
go on.  What is new, though, is the metamorphosis of health IT experts
into charismatic national figures.  For many of us whose main political
experience was becoming president of the high school physics club, it’s
an ego rush to testify to Congress at a televised meeting or appear on
a list of healthcare’s 100 most powerful people.  But media interest
thrives on controversies, not reasoned agreements.  It makes the news
more exciting, but does it benefit our shared cause of improving health
and health care?   Is it possible some dogs and cats have been sucked
into intentionally provoked interspecies fights to boost their
visibility profile?”

Margalit wrote in on the topic of interspecies warfare as well:

“I’m a catdog. When a situation is as dire and as
complex as the one our healthcare system finds itself in today, there
usually is a need for multiple
venues of intervention. It is true that the beneficiaries of whatever
we do, must be the patients. The problem is very simple to define:
healthcare in the US is
too expensive. The solutions, or the various possible interventions are
mostly loaded with social/ideological implications.”

Meanwhile, Lone Consumer Voice had this note of caution to add on the whole theme of dog-cat analogies ..

“Millions of Cats and Dogs are able to get along just fine but under no circumstances should cat-dog introductions be handled by throwing the animals together and letting them work out things on their own. That method is far too stressful and introductions can be dangerous even in the best of circumstances. Some dogs see cats as prey and might have an urge to bite them, and even those dogs who are generally easygoing may react instinctively to a cat on the run, attacking the smaller animal…”

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