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Rumored Obama Surgeon General pick Sanjay Gupta's history of lies on single payer

DCblogger's picture

In Sicko "fact check," CNN's Gupta falsely claimed his source's "only affiliation is with Vanderbilt University":

Contrary to Gupta's assertion on Larry King Live that Keckley's "only affiliation is with Vanderbilt University," Keckley is affiliated with Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, part of a global audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services group of firms. Keckley is the executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions states on its website that "it delivers research on and develops solutions to some of our nation's most pressing health care and public health related challenges." As Moore noted on Larry King Live, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions is also "connected" to Tommy Thompson. The center's website lists Thompson as the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions' independent chairman.

Keckley is also a Republican contributor, as Moore claimed. According, Keckley has donated $8,500 to Republican candidates or party committees since 1990, including $1,000 to Sen. Bob Corker (TN), $2,000 to the Republican Party of Tennessee, $2,000 to Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN), and $500 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN). During that period, he has made no donations to Democratic candidates or party committees that have been reported to the Federal Election Commission.

Moore's assertion that Keckley "has done business with Blue Cross, with Aventis, with these other groups," is also accurate. According to Keckley's curriculum vitae, posted on Vanderbilt's website, from 1998 to 2002 Keckley served as chief executive officer of EBM Solutions Inc., which licensed software applications to "32 healthcare organizations in 2002 including Health Net of California, Blue Cross of Tennessee, Aventis and others." Keckley's curriculum vitae also lists him as a member of the Aventis Health Outcomes Measurement Committee. Further, Keckley's biography on the website of the Vanderbilt Center for Evidence-Based Medicine notes that he is "a frequent keynote speaker for national healthcare organizations including the AMA House of Delegates, National Quality Forum, The Medical Group Management Association, Disease Management Association, Blue Cross Association, American Association of Health Plans and others."

A line-by-line breakdown of Sanjay Gupta's false claims and inaccurate statements

Why is it acceptable for Gupta to lie about stuff like that?

UPDATE Hilariously, some people think Conyers calling out Gupta for being a lying sack of shit, as well as unqualified (assuming that being a lying sack of shit is not his qualification) is a waste of time. Teh stupid --- it b-u-u-r-n-s! --lambert

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I can't write a headline to save my life.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

They have little to no policy-making authority and only rarely speak independently of the Administration's political agenda, at least not without risk of firing, so the well-trained lapdog Gupta should be just what every President wants. He's affable, charming, photogenic, dedicatedly shallow, delighted to dumb down the discourse and really, really pleased just to be here, where ever "here" happens to be. The consumate figurehead, he is perfect for the job.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Obama has said before, "“In order for us to reform our health-care system, we must first begin reforming how government communicates with the American people.” And that seems to be what he's aiming for with Gupta. Fast forward to 50 seconds in:

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

according to (the dreaded) howard kurtz

The offer followed a two-hour Chicago meeting in November with Obama, who said that Gupta could be the highest-profile surgeon general in history and would have an expanded role in providing health policy advice, the sources said. Gupta later spoke with Tom Daschle, Obama's White House health czar and nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, and other advisers to the president-elect.

to me, this reads like Gupta is going to be the public face of Obama's bogus health care plan -- he's going to be the administration's chief salesman for bug Pharma and the rest of the special interests that Obama is going to take care of. We've all seen how he'll not merely twist the facts, but flat out lie, in pursuit of the war against single-payer, and that is doubtless what drew him to Obama and Daschle.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'd forgotten his fat-hating misogyny.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Americans like their demons, and guilt, as addicts their drug. Gupta is just a part of the delivery system.

Submitted by hipparchia on

and obama has been on about the fat thing for some time, so i can see why he'd like gupta. i'll play senator dr frist and diagnose him over the internet: i've always wondered if obama's thing about we were all skinny back the 80s is related to his trying to quit smoking.

sigh... why couldn't england have kept their puritans to themselves?

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

As does the apologism of its apologists.

I didn't think he could do it, but the president-elect continues on his unrelenting course (save for a few appointments) of picking the most unthreatening and passive individuals in the Village. Gupta is being chosen for his charm and knowing his way around a television camera. That's it.

When you're fluff, it shouldn't really surprise the general public to see you surround yourself with fluff, though. Obama's making this way too easy because he's so consistent. It's like shooting hope in a barrel.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

I just read your comment. We definitely agree.

Submitted by lambert on

"Charge" -- missed it before...

The charm of the flight brigade...

Blight ... "might" ... right... slight... And so forth.

It's funny on the "skinny" thing. "Skinny," "thoughtful" -- those are the memes. Interesting.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

I've missed this news.

Sanjay Gupta?

He's media savvy. He went to Iraq even.

Can he sell a controversial decision better than the next guy? He's very pretty.

Eff the media darlings.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

that the president is indeed being chosen on the basis of a PR team.

Not his credentials.

Not his experience.

Not his media savviness.

Certainly happened in 2000 and 2004 and now, I think. Makes me feel all warm and...disgusted.

Obama is smarter than Bush, and hopefully, his administration will be more competent, being that it's filled with Clinton administration people. Ahem.

Submitted by lambert on


You don’t have to like Moore or his film; but Gupta specifically claimed that Moore “fudged his facts”, when the truth was that on every one of the allegedly fudged facts, Moore was actually right and CNN was wrong.

What bothered me about the incident was that it was what Digby would call Village behavior: Moore is an outsider, he’s uncouth, so he gets smeared as unreliable even though he actually got it right. It’s sort of a minor-league version of the way people who pointed out in real time that Bush was misleading us into war are to this day considered less “serious” than people who waited until it was fashionable to reach that conclusion. And appointing Gupta now, although it’s a small thing, is just another example of the lack of accountability that always seems to be the rule when you get things wrong in a socially acceptable way.

Fucking hippie. What does he know?

Submitted by lambert on

What Avedon said:

Anyone who can utter that many conservative lies and talking points about single-payer/"socialized" medicine is, to put it generously, the wrong choice - and looks an awful lot like a signal from Obama that he doesn't give a damn about one of the most vital issues facing us. It's not bad enough that he said before that he doesn't support single-payer, but he clearly hasn't learned anything of value in his long period of running for president. Another "Up yours!" to the people who voted for him thinking he had to be better than this.


I don't consider Gupta an honest voice in the healthcare discussion, and I don't think anyone should. As a medical journalist, he's not really that good - he's on TV because he says things The Villagers like, which means conservative bull.

This is the thing that always worries me about Obama - he seems very much a part of that subgroup of people in his age group who fell hook, line, and sinker for the "libertarian" excuses to oppose liberalism, because he doesn't know any better. And unlike a lot of other people in that group, he hasn't learned anything from the last eight years. I have a friend who seems convinced that Obama is the Real Deal because he spoke to him back during his Senate race and learned that Obama really doesn't like Bush - but, really, despising Bush is a pretty low threshold. Not many people ever really liked Bush, anyway. What's important is understanding why the policies are bad, and listening to Obama talk about Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, I get the feeling he doesn't really know what was wrong with Iraq, either. Same with healthcare.

But wait. Obama's "thoughtful." I guess what you have to consider is that the people writing that one are, themselves, really, really stupid.

Submitted by hipparchia on

how could he not fall hook-line-sinker for libertarianism? his main academic credentials [and interactions] are from chicago.

TonyRz's picture
Submitted by TonyRz on

I don't consider Gupta an honest voice in the healthcare discussion, and I don't think anyone should. As a medical journalist, he's not really that good - he's on TV because he says things The Villagers like, which means conservative bull.

Yeah, that's about it for me. I'm relying solely on memory, and not the Internets wayback machine, for why Gupta was completely appalling during "Sicko"-gate. It was the height of Village mendacity, and helped itself to a permanent part of my brain.

But hey, at least he's not a "lobbyist".

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

for receiving "Sicko" this week from netflix.

never liked Gupta. he always seemed smarmy and self serving to me. the more i read about him, the less i like him.

oh well, let's just hope (boom!) that Gupta has little say in crafting health policy. a grrl can dream, i guess.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on Tennessee health care corporations. We perfectedMedicare and Insurance fraud aka the Frist Family (who did it on an Enron scale and then decided the best way to avoid jail time and criminal charges was to make Bill Frist an US Senator). TN and KY specialize in health corps designed to rip off those they treat and insure as well as govt. programs.

Oh and just connected to Vanderbilt? NASHVILLE is ground zero for this crap.