She herself outlined Ebola response as part of her job description.
Preparedness: Earlier this week, Sen. John McCain called for an Ebola czar, not knowing one already effectively exists. Why should he, since Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H., has been completely M.I.A.
You have to wonder sometimes if anyone in a leadership position in the Obama administration bothers to show up to work these days.
Case in point is Dr. Nicole Lurie, who arguably should be front and center in planning for and responding to the Ebola outbreak.
After all, it’s right there in her job title. She’s the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, a position created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that reports directly to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Her mission, according to the HHS website, is “to lead the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies.”
Lead? Well, maybe she’s leading from behind, because Lurie’s been nowhere to be found since Ebola showed up on U.S. soil.
“You can barely find any mention of her in the news,” notes The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, who was first to point out this invisible leader.
Then again, it could be that, like everyone else in the Obama administration, Lurie’s just not up to the job.
After all, on Sept. 11, Lurie told the Washington Post that her office was diligently working with other federal agencies “to ensure that U.S. health care providers, hospitals, health clinics, emergency medical services … have the information they need to be prepared to identify and treat Ebola infections, in case anyone in the United States becomes sick after traveling from affected countries or from contact with infected individuals.”
Two weeks later, Ebola-infected Thomas Duncan showed up at the Texas Presbyterian Health Hospital with a high fever after returning from Liberia, only to be discharged with a prescription for antibiotics.
If it seems as though the U.S. is rudderless against the rising Ebola tide, it’s not for a lack of resources or agencies in the federal government.
It’s because there’s a glaring lack of competent leaders in the Obama administration.