Monday, July 20, 2009

Why do we need a surgeon general?

President Obama has appointed one Regina Benjamin, who actually seems to be an outstanding person and physician, to be the country's surgeon general. The question this Register editorial asks, is why do we need such an office? The position was created shortly after the civil war and has a goofily military air to it -- the "general" gets to wear a quasi-military uniform if he/she so desires. But in practice the job has devolved into being a national scold on things like eating right and avoiding tobacco. Yawn. Oprah does it better, as does Sanjay Gupta, who probably figured he would not only keep making more but could reach more people with medical information as a CNN commentator. Obama could have given us symbolic gesture in the direction of reducing needless health-care spending -- not that the money would be all that much when we're talking trillions here -- but there's no change to see here. Move along.

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