KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Senate Narrowly Approves Obama’s Choice For Surgeon General Despite NRA Opposition

The nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy had languished for months because of his support for gun control measures and his advocacy of the health law.

The Associated Press: Senate Approves Obama Pick For Surgeon General
The U.S. Senate on Monday approved President Barack Obama's nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as U.S. surgeon general, despite opposition from Republicans and some Democrats over his support for gun control and past statements that gun violence is a public health issue. The U.S. has been without a Senate-confirmed surgeon general since July 2013. The surgeon general does not set policy but is an advocate for the people's health. (Daly and Neergaard, 12/15)

Reuters: Senate Approves New Surgeon General
The Senate confirmed the long-delayed nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy for surgeon general on Monday, as Democrats pushed to approve some of President Barack Obama's stalled choices for government posts before Republicans take power in Congress next year. ... Obama nominated Murthy a year ago, but some Republicans and the National Rifle Association criticized his gun-control views. Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative Republican, called Murthy an "anti-gun activist." ... Supporters of Murthy noted more than 100 public health organizations endorsed him, calling him a "well qualified, forward-thinking, innovative leader with a strong commitment to public health." (Cornwell, 12/15)

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Confirms Vivek Murthy As U.S. Surgeon General
Dr. Murthy’s nomination was opposed by both Republicans and some Democrats over the gun issue, opposition that stalled his confirmation vote for months, leaving the public-health post unfilled while the U.S. government wrestled with issues such as the global Ebola outbreak. His critics said the 37-year-old Dr. Murthy, who was born to Indian immigrant parents and is an associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization in Boston, has been too politically outspoken. In addition to his comments on gun control, which drew the opposition of the National Rifle Association, he also co-founded a group of doctors that advocates in support of the federal health-care law. (Crittenden and Radnofsky, 12/15)

Bloomberg: Doctor Opposed For Gun Comments Confirmed As Surgeon General
The Senate confirmed Vivek Murthy, a physician who has called gun violence a public health issue, as U.S. surgeon general more than a year after President Barack Obama chose him for the job. The vote was 51-43 on one of the Senate’s last work days before Democrats turn the majority over to Republicans in January. After Obama nominated Murthy in November 2013, his confirmation was delayed amid opposition from Republicans and the National Rifle Association, a Fairfax, Virginia-based pro-gun lobby. (Miller, 12/15)

The Boston Globe: Senate Confirms Vivek Murthy As Surgeon General
Dr. Vivek Murthy, the Harvard professor whose nomination for surgeon general was held up because of his support for gun control and his political activity in President Obama’s campaign, was confirmed Monday by the Senate, more than a year after he was nominated. (Bierman, 12/15)

Los Angeles Times: Senate Confirms Obama's Surgeon General Despite Gun-Control Views
The Senate confirmed President Obama's controversial choice for surgeon general Monday, a victory for the administration after Republican infighting gave Democrats the upper hand in the final stretch of the lame-duck Congress. The 51-43 vote followed a drama-filled weekend session in which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) forced senators to cancel plans and file into work as he tried to use a government funding bill as leverage to stop the president's immigration policy. (Mascaro, 12/15)

NPR: The U.S. Has A Surgeon General, For The First Time In 17 Months
A job that's been open in President Obama's administration since July of 2013 was finally filled Monday, as the Senate voted to confirm Vivek Murthy as America's new surgeon general. The tally was 51-43, ending a confirmation process that began after Obama nominated Murthy to the post in November of 2013 — yes, that's one year ago. (Chapell, 12/15)

Politico: Vivek Murthy Confirmed As Surgeon General
The nomination was strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association because of Murthy’s support of gun-control laws and by Republicans who doubted that a 37-year-old physician was qualified for the public health position. ... Democrats confirmed him, 51-43, with the support of a lone Republican: Mark Kirk of Illinois. Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia opposed him; all hail from red states where the gun lobby is particularly powerful. (Haberkorn and Everett, 12/15)

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