Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, made a surprise visit to AcademyHealth’s National Health Policy Conference Tuesday morning and took to the podium to declare that he wants to be the first surgeon general to issue a report showing the links between health and a healthy economy.
In his brief remarks, Adams discussed the need to address the opioid crisis with data and talked about using data to make issues more relevant to policy makers, especially for conversations around healthy economies and national security.
His unscheduled visit came on a day when Congress was slated to vote on a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown. The CR includes funding for community health centers, but cuts almost $3 billion over 10 years
from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. It also includes spending on defense programs.
Adams referenced the upcoming vote in Congress when he said he was also concerned about health and national security.
“Seven out of 10 of our youth are ineligible for military service,” he said. “Let me say that again. Seven out of 10 of our 18-to-24-year-olds are ineligible for military service.” Adams said it was either because they can’t pass a physical, have a criminal record, or don’t have the education requirements.
"We're a country that's less safe now because we're not as healthy as we could be," he said.
He told the audience that policy makers need to be told, “If you want a more prosperous community, look at the data that we have available.”
“As Surgeon General of the United States, my number 1 job is to communicate science and the priority of health to the American people,” Adams said.
Adams is an anesthesiologist and an expert in the field of substance abuse and joined the Trump administration last year.