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A better choice for Surgeon General

Friday, January 09, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Our future President (11 days!) is said to be considering a famous TV doctor for Sur-Gen.  Permalink to this paragraph

Paul Krugman explains why he's not a good choice, and I concur, but something has been bothering me about this, and an email from a friend helped nail it. Permalink to this paragraph

If you really want to turn things upside-down for the better, instead of a healthy young doctor, how about an older person who is not a doctor, who has health problems and has been treated by the system, someone who has actual experience being a user of American health care. Permalink to this paragraph

Then let the doctors and insurance companies and HMOs listen a bit. There's no doubt the other users would hear what this person says. (There's a scene in the latest Clint Eastwood film that illustrates this principle beautifully.) Permalink to this paragraph

I am not suggesting an average or ordinary person, not a Joe The Patient, not a knucklehead or idiot, rather someone with a life of accomplishment, a passion for living, but someone who hasn't lived the perfect life and paid a price, and maybe someone like the future President who saw a relative die sooner or suffer more because of deficiency in the system. Permalink to this paragraph

That would signal a very pragmatic change -- from health care defining an ideal most of us won't achieve, to improving or just sustaining the reality we make the best of. Permalink to this paragraph

Thanks to Ann Greenberg, a longtime friend and Berkeley neighbor, for the perspective-shifting email. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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