Democrats announced on Wednesday that a deal was finally reached in the house to move healthcare reform forward, clearing the way for a vote in September.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is one of the key players in helping the Obama administration create sweeping reforms in the health care system. His role is to make the case for reform while reassuring medical professionals that it will not lead to an unwelcome upheaval.
“You are not going to flip a switch and change our system,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s got to be an evolution, not a revolution.”
Ezekiel is the older brother of Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, whom he speaks to daily. Described as an outspoken, accomplished academic with impressive medical and policy credentials, Ezekiel has spent the past two decades writing about guaranteeing health care for all. He brings a multitude of strengths to his position, including a medical perspective which was lacking during the debates over health care reform in the Clinton presidency.
According to Vitals.com, he received his medical degree at Harvard University, completed a residency in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
There are those who are critical of his ability to improve the system. In a controversial editorial printed in Bloomberg, former Lieutenant Governor, Betsy McCaughey blasted Emanuel, warning Americans that provisions of the stimulus bill “are bad for your health” and discriminates against older patients.
And although he is well-respected in medical and academic circles, health care reform advocates question his experience.
But Emanuel feels he has had unique preparation.
“I can say things that other people may not be able to. It’s the perspective of having been in the trenches, having had to negotiate with insurance companies and doctors and patients and trying to get services. I think I understand the mechanics out there better than an economist or a health policy expert who has studied it from afar.”
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who recently earned a black belt in tae kwon do, is prepared for anything as he travels the perilous bi-partisan road in pursuit of improved healthcare in America.