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Obama Appoints Surgeon General

The final major post in the Obama administration may soon be filled. Just before noon Monday, President Barack Obama nominated physician Regina Benjamin of Alabama to be the nation’s surgeon general.The president first discussed his ongoing quest to change the American health care system.“We are now closer to our goal of health care reform than we have ever been,— he said. “There are going to be more debates and more disagreements before this is done, but health care reform must be done.—After reiterating his campaign promises on health care reform, Obama connected the debate to the nominee standing to his right.“If there’s anyone who understands our need to meet this challenge,— he said, “it’s Dr. Regina Benjamin.—Benjamin earned her doctorate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has dedicated much of her professional life to helping those without medical insurance at a rural health clinic she founded in Bayou La Batre, Ala.Obama praised Benjamin’s policy of treating patients even if they can’t pay and occasionally paying for medicine when patients cannot afford to.Benjamin’s clinic has had a troubled existence — she has rebuilt it several times because of hurricanes and fire damage.Benjamin said that she wants to be “America’s doctor, America’s family physician.—She also stated her goal of representing patients in the battle over health care. “I want to ensure that no one — no one — falls through the cracks,— she said.