Prospects uncertain for surgeon general nominee
With Republicans set to take control of the Senate, Dr. Vivek Murthy’s last chance for confirmation as surgeon general is the lame-duck Senate session that ends this week.
Murthy’s nomination has been hung up for a year, in part over comments he made before his nomination about gun violence as a public health issue. That initially made Democrats hesitant to back his candidacy. But now, there seems to be renewed support.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) came out last week for Murthy, who would be the first Indian-American surgeon general. “Dr. Murthy brings an entrepreneurial focus, and he is committed to using technology to expand our outreach on health and wellness in innov- ative ways,” Warner said. Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas reportedly also are backing the nomination.
More than 100 healthcare organizations, including the American College of Physicians and the American Heart Association, signed a letter last month urging senators to approve the nomination. Dr. Robert Wergin, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said the lack of public knowledge about Ebola shows the need to confirm a surgeon general who can lead the nation’s public health conversation.
But former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, who served under President George W. Bush, sent a letter to senators opposing the nomination.
If the Democrats can’t line up 51 votes this week, Murthy’s nomination is doomed.