President Joe Biden has given Dr. Vivek Murthy, the founder of Doctors for America, yet another role in his administration.
Murthy, who already serves as Surgeon General of the United States, was recently appointed to serve as Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization. Murthy will be serving in the W.H.O. in addition to his role as Surgeon General.
Murthy’s ties to Biden trace back to his founding of Doctors for Obama, the advocacy group that would be rebranded into Doctors for America. Murthy worked as an advisor to then-candidate Barack Obama and formed Doctors for Obama to bolster his campaign and his effort to promote the healthcare reforms that would become the Affordable Care Act.
Under Murthy’s leadership, Doctors for America’s extended far beyond the Affordable Care Act – or healthcare in general. The organization has advocated for many radical policies, including releasing inmates from prison, reforming policing, banning guns, and other non-healthcare-related policies.
Murthy formally stepped down from Doctors for America after Obama nominated him to serve as Surgeon General.
His political activism with Doctors for America was a point of contention during his first confirmation hearings. Many senators felt his political activism would improperly politicize the role of Surgeon General. Even some Democrats – including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) – voted against his first confirmation.
But Murthy eventually convinced enough Democrats to support his nomination and he was sworn in as Surgeon General. Murthy maintained the post throughout Obama’s presidency until he was relieved from his duties by President Trump.
Biden then re-nominated Murthy after winning the presidency himself in 2020. But again, Murthy’s nomination hit a road bump after it was revealed that Murthy had been paid more than $2 million by Biden’s campaign for consultant work. Murthy also served on the Biden-Harris transition team prior to his nomination.
Murthy was also paid $400,000 to consult for Carnival Corporation just as its cruise lines became known as “Petri dishes” that trapped many during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Murthy’s other clients included Netflix, Google, Airbnb, and Estée Lauder.
Much like the organization he founded, Dr. Murthy has proven to be quite good at using his credibility as a doctor to push a political agenda that has little to do with healthcare. The same can be said of the World Health Organization, in general.
The W.H.O. has been known to let politics override public health. It infamously allowed China to influence its messaging about Covid during the early days of the pandemic, including posting a tweet that stated, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus.”
Obviously, that didn’t pan out.
It remains to be seen if Dr. Murthy’s latest position will inspire Doctors for Obama Doctors for America to become Doctors for the World.