Surgeon General Richard Carmona is passionate in favor of prevention, global health initiatives, and fighting tobacco and AIDS. Yet the positive health messages coming from his self-described “bully pulpit” office are just those: messages — without meaning.
Although the science about tobacco, obesity and sexual health is clear, Carmona said in a speech today it his not his job to regulate and that “if society is armed with the appropriate information, we won’t need to regulate.”
But the restaurant, sugar, tobacco and alcohol lobbyists spend billions to control the information they think is appropriate, and washing your hands of responsibility only allows those with contaminated hands to manipulate the levers of regulatory policy.
As for the cost to society of a health system that spends more than any other in the world without better outcomes, he says, “It is foolish to debate who pays until we take responsibility for our own health.”
Carmona is a good guy who talks about prevention and health disparities as if he knows what needs to be done. But to be the good soldier in this administration, he is forced to blame the victim.