An Interim Heavy-Hitter


Over at main TP the boss has an intriguing suggestion. Instead of just giving the temporary MA Senate gig to placeholder, why not give it to someone who could really be a high-impact player in the health care debate? Someone like Atul Gawande:

Dr. Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, and has written extensively on medicine for The New Yorker. An articulate and eloquent speaker on health matters, Dr. Gawande is a former Rhodes Scholar, a MacArthur Fellow, and unquestionably one of the nation’s leading health policy experts.

President Obama has told his staff that Dr. Gawande’s writings are “required reading” in the White House. Dr. Gawande has written extensively on sustaining health care reform and lowering health care costs over the long term. He previously worked for Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign, and he served on Clinton Health Care Task Force.

This old profile of Gawande from 1994 even ended on this note:

“I want to be a good doctor,” he says, but in the same breath adds: “But I’ve never been able to stay disengaged from the political process and policy for very long.”

Someone holding a Senate seat during a critical period but with no future political ambitions would have a pretty unique opportunity to play a kind of bold leadership role if the Senator in question were someone with the knowledge and credibility to really contribute to the debate.