Chenoweth: Eliminate Surgeon General Job

U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth, R-Idaho, contends Congress should consider eliminating the post of surgeon general.

“We have great research in the private sector in the medical communities and I have yet to see a needful purpose for that position,” Chenoweth said in a telephone interview from her Washington, D.C., office. “We turn to our local medical community for guidance in medical affairs, (and) state and local organizations.”

Chenoweth contended she has not seen any benefits from the use of the surgeon general’s post as a bully pulpit in recent years.

President Clinton’s first surgeon general, Joycelyn Elders, was forced to resign under fire after about two years in the job. Clinton’s nominee to take her place, Tennessee physician Henry Foster Jr., has drawn sharp criticism from anti-abortion forces and several prominent Republican congressmen.

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