Oppose Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General

The following letter was sent to members and supporters of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) by Dr. Quentin D. Young.

Dear PNHP members and friends,

The report this week that President-elect Obama is considering Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, for the position of U.S. surgeon general is deeply troubling.

Among our concerns are these:

  • He has very little background in public health, preventive medicine or administration.
  • He has openly opposed progressive health reform, going so far as to cite false information to denigrate single payer (e.g. in his error-laden attack on Michael Moore’s film “Sicko”) and parroting the health insurance lobby’s distortions of single payer.
  • As a media figure, he has been disturbingly cozy with Big Pharma. He co-hosts Turner Private Networks’ monthly show “Accent Health,” which airs in doctors’ offices around the country and which serves as a major conduit for targeted ads from the drug companies. Another example: In 2003, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, he publicly downplayed concerns about the dangers of Vioxx. It was removed from the market a year later by its manufacturer, Merck.
  • In the 2008 election campaign, his reporting on John McCain’s health proposals was misleading and implicitly positive, giving undeserved credence to McCain’s claims that buying private health insurance on the open market is a financially viable option for most Americans.

We urge you to write to President-elect Obama and express your opposition to Gupta’s possible nomination, and to urge Obama to nominate a more acceptable candidate for this critically important post. You can do so by clicking here: http://change.gov/page/s/healthcare.

Sincerely yours,
Quentin D. Young, M.D.
PNHP National Coordinator


  1. Eliza Jane Dodd on January 12, 2009 at 12:51 am

    President Obama is a COWARD when he hires GUPTA ..That seals the deal for all of US with -out Health Care …we ant getting any ..I so regret that Dennis Kucinich did not win and the Zionist stopped him in Nevada ! Dennis Kucinich was ALMOST the Greatest President we almost ever had ,THe day he quit the race was the day the music died for me .I feel the same way now when President Obama talks about this GUPTA man that is going to give us everything but health care ,I guess I am a dead woman very soon .I am very sad I dont want to die .NOW I know my fate is sealed by President Obama being a total COWARD !

  2. B. Spoon on January 14, 2009 at 6:32 pm


    I have heard Gupta perpetrate myths and lies that mislead and miseducate the American public on the subject of health coverage. He supports a broken and immoral status quo, has no compassion for or understanding of the millions of American lives that have been abd are being needlessly devastated because of our divided and conquered non system, or the trillions of our health care dollars wasted because he is willing to play his role to help support health unsurance injustice and legalized discrimination against sick people in America. We are at the mercy of health unsurers who have NO MERCY WHAT SO EVER, and Gupta thinks that’s A-OK and fine by him. NO WAY should he be allowed to speak FOR the public good because he obviously is on the side of the moneyed interests working AGAINST us.

  3. May May on January 14, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I’m glad I read this. I was unaware of these facts about Sanjay Gupta’s positions on single payer healthcare. He’s always seemed like such a “nice guy” on TV.

  4. S. Hutting on January 14, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Please, by all means, let us join together in opposition against the potential pick of Sanjay Gupta by PE Obama. But at the same time (this is in response to the comment by Ms. Dodd), let’s try to present a picture of intelligence and professionalism as opposed to name-calling and accusations. Unfortunately when people respond in anger and reduce themselves to these behaviors, the very valid points become lost in the rambling. We definitely need to oppose this potential choice, but let’s do so with integrity. Thank you!

  5. Stephen Coyle on January 14, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Dr. Gupta can continue to play a doctor on TV. He is not qualified to play Surgeon General.

  6. Esther B. Wolf on January 15, 2009 at 2:00 am

    Mr. Gupta represents” more of the same” when what we need is “change” regarding health care coverage that has any relevance to the difficulties most Americans face.

  7. Nancy A on January 15, 2009 at 10:55 am

    We must say no to Gupta and a resounding YES to HR676. Single-payer, universal healthcare is the ONLY way to fix the hideous mess that is the healthcare system in this country.

  8. Frank Valdez on January 15, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    We must organize and mobilize against this appointment! Obama is our president and we must keep his feet to the fire!

    On that note I believe that a national march on Washington, D.C. is in order. We must make the politicians understand that the chaos, discrimination and gross injustice in healthcare must end now! We must make them understand that single payer healthcare is not only a want; IT IS A NEED!

  9. S Colb. on January 20, 2009 at 2:29 am


    People the Surgeon General has little to no say in determining healthcare policy. Take a look at the above article before you lose your minds…

    “the biggest reason to think Dr Gupta may succeed is the fact that the only real power the surgeon-general has is the use of his bully pulpit to promote public health goals, such as healthy eating and stopping smoking.”

  10. Dan C. English, M.D. M.A. on January 21, 2009 at 10:01 am

    In regard to the consideration of Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon-General, I must strongly dissent. From what is evident in his background and positions, he is
    clearly not qualified for that position of considerable influence in medical policy.
    Our need for a single-payer system is so obvious! We are near bankruptcy, spending in excess of 16% of GNP on a medical (not health) system that is rated
    far below that of most industrialized countries (somewhere between #24 and 32
    in quality), leaving out 47 million people or more from coverage. He has no evident interest or background in changing our inadequate system. He lacks
    any important health credentials for that important public service post!

  11. Neal Aronson, M.D. on February 17, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I agree and I’m a neurosurgeon too. Please read and spread my blog, “Indelible Universal Health Care.” I can help make it a reality. My candidate for HHS is Dr. Ben Carson, honest, dedicated and universally known and respected. Incidentally, he’s a neurosurgeon too, but in a different cosmos than Dr. Gupta.