U.S.

Lack Of Surgeon General During Ebola Scare Is Partisan Issue

There's currently no confirmed surgeon general, but some on the Left are using the Ebola scare to try to change that.

Lack Of Surgeon General During Ebola Scare Is Partisan Issue
U.S. Surgeon General
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CDC Director Tom Frieden has been the Obama administration's lead communicator on Ebola. But there's a growing chorus calling for him to move out of the spotlight and let someone else take charge — like the surgeon general. 

BILL O'REILLY VIA FOX NEWS: "Frieden should resign."

DON LEMON VIA CNN: "Should Frieden be the one who's in charge? Why isn't there a surgeon general?"

SREEDHAR POTARAZU VIA FOX BUSINESS: "Where is the surgeon general?"

The surgeon general is appointed by the president to be the nation's top health communicator, educating the public on health and disease. But there hasn't been a confirmed top doctor since President Obama's first pick, Regina Benjamin, stepped down in July of 2013.

And the left blames the NRA for that. The group put Obama's next nominee in its sights, and his confirmation in the Senate has stalled ever since.

Dr. Vivek Murthy is a Yale graduate who campaigned for Obama in 2008 and has been public about his pro-gun control stance. (Video via U.S. Senate)

In the past, Murthy has called guns a health care issue and accused politicians of being scared of the NRA. Guess who took issue with that? The group sent a letter to the Senate threatening to oppose anyone who voted for Murthy.

In the last couple of weeks, liberal sites have argued the lack of a surgeon general is making the fight against Ebola more difficult — and pointing the finger right at the NRA. 

And it's not even subtle. An MSNBC article says"Thanks to NRA power and Senate cowardice, we are left with no surgeon general" during a major health scare.

And Roland Martin, writing for The Daily Beast, says we're without a top doctor because Murthy "called for gun restrictions in order to keep more Americans healthy."

It's a pretty obvious line, and right-leaning sites have called liberals out for it. 

They've also pointed out that we do have an acting surgeon general, Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak. 

But while he's done pretty typical surgeon general things, like talking about the importance of exercise and a healthy diet, he's been invisible on Ebola, letting Frieden and the CDC take the lead. (Video via The Washington Post)

In fact, the office's website only has one article mentioning Ebola: a "facts about Ebola" page that's pretty sparse and mainly just links to the CDC. Basically, there's no sign the acting surgeon general will be speaking up.

There's still some disagreement over whether having someone confirmed in the role would actually make a difference, since the office is more about communication than policy. But Senators John McCain and Jerry Moran have called for an "Ebola czar," and with opinion turning against Frieden, the vacant surgeon general chair looks to many like the best option. 

This video includes images from Getty Images and the National Institutes of Health.