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Atul Gawande for Senate?

I like the idea of appointing Dr. Atul Gawande as an interim senator to Ted Kennedy's seat. No one knows health care better, and few have been as influential in this process. I'd worry that Atul himself would find it a bit of a disappointing experience, as knowing stuff is not likely to matter much at this stage in the process, and may just make the final weeks of the legislative sausage-grinder more stomach-turning. But it would be a bulletproof choice, and would certainly lead to a great New Yorker article.

Related: My interview with Atul Gawande.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 18, 2009; 4:59 PM ET
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Atul Gawande for Massachusetts Senate position – that will be a phenomenal choice. The only negative will be he will not be available for the full term! I guess he can be the first chairman of the iMAC Board which President Obama needs it so badly after this Senate term.

Just hope that this country picks such phenomenal talents for these positions.

Posted by: umesh409 | September 18, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The man knows politics, and he knows health care, but does he know sausage?

Posted by: CrowIII | September 18, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Gawande is infinitely overqualified for the position and I bet he'd be extremely underwhelmed at seeing the process of making legislation. Of course, he'd probably find it both laughable and painful that our illustrious Congress, burdened with the complex task of reforming health care, is so ill informed about the field of medicine. This is probably the main reason for the crappy Baucus/Obama plan which primarily reforms health insurance and does little to reform health care. Of course, the other main reason has to do with money from lobbyists.

Posted by: goadri | September 18, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

That's a great interview you did with Gawande. I love the point he makes distinguishing between the insurance coverage for healthcare and the cost of healthcare as determined by physicians.

I work as an internist for a hospitalist group 2 nights per week. I order blood tests, imaging studies, and drugs on dozens of patients each shift. I don't even know what insurance they have. I don't ask and no one brings it up. I just focus on providing coherent care for those people while I'm in house.

Reducing costs means finding away to ensure that people like me are following evidence based and cost-effective standards.

Posted by: jdworkin1 | September 18, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

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