Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, an audacious biotech visionary, may be tapped for an audacious undertaken: no less than solving health care, according to an exclusive by STAT. And just to put icing on the cake, Soon-Shiong has also vowed to win the war on cancer. He has met with Trump and advisors at least twice within the last month.
“If Soon-Shiong were given a prominent role in the new administration, it would signal Trump is serious about putting unconventional people in charge of health and science issues,” STAT reports.
There is some dispute over whether Soon-Shiong, who is worth an estimated $9 billion, ever tried to play a role in the Obama administration with two former Obama officials saying he did, and an aide to Soon-Shiong saying he didn’t.
In 2014, Soon-Shiong stated about the ACA that, “The foundations and the intent of the Affordable Care Act are laudable. The way it’s being implemented is a disaster.”
STAT reports that those familiar with meetings between Soon-Shiong and Trump said that the word “czar” was not used. But the power that Soon-Shiong wants to have would certainly make him one.
Czars are officials appointed by the president tasked with overseeing huge swaths of the executive bureaucracy. They can be appointed either with or without Senate approval. Czar is not an official title, but one given by the media.
For instance, Bill Bennet, who served under President George H. W. Bush, was known as the “drug czar,” but his official title was Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.