Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Public health and politics

A parade of surgeons general testified in Congress today about political interference with scientific views concerning public health. It may not come as much of a surprise, given the Bush Administration's track record with scientific accuracy. During the run-up to the Medicare expansion in 2003, CMS Actuary Richard Foster had said he felt threatened by political appointees and was kept from revealing the true cost of the new prescription drug benefit.

It is certainly less surprising now, to the extent that the Administration's reputation has sunk so low that political hacks are some of the few folks who want to work in it.

To be sure, the executive branch has never been a place for free-flowing ideas, and it probably shouldn't be. But it is distressing to see scientific views so restrained.