Obama Lacks Health Team as Swine Flu Spreads

Terrorism pros handle health crisis
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2009 1:53 AM CDT
Obama Lacks Health Team as Swine Flu Spreads
President Obama makes remarks to the media after holding his first Cabinet meeting last week. Key health positions remain vacant in the administration as the swine flu hits.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

With key health posts in the Obama administration still vacant, the swine flu outbreak is being handled by a counter-terrorism specialist and a former governor, Politico reports. The administration still lacks a surgeon general and chiefs for the Food and Drug Administraion and Centers for Disease Control, and needs to fill 20 crucial positions—including the secretary of the agency—at Health and Human Services. Still, the White House contends it's prepared.

"I think it's all hands on deck, and we're doing fine," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. The situation isn't unprecedented: Timothy Geithner handled the financial crisis with 18 Treasury posts open. The epidemic may put pressure on the Senate to confirm HHS Secretary-designate Kathleen Sebelius as early as tomorrow. Some 20 nonfatal cases of the flu have already been reported in five states. (More Obama administration stories.)

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