Just like an individual, a nation can have access to the best medical care available, but it won’t help much without the direction of a physician who ... can explain it in a way that it will be understood and heeded.

That’s the idea behind the reported naming of Dr. Sanjay Gupta as President-elect Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump spokeswoman: Health care will be 'big' selling point for union workers Democrats will not beat Trump without moderate policy ideas Trump job approval rises amid record partisan gap: Gallup MORE’s pick for U. S. surgeon general.

While the good doctor will still have to go through the various background checks and Senate reviews that lie ahead, Obama’s choice of an experienced brain surgeon who has become in recent years the public face of modern medicine shows a useful understanding of the huge role that education and public relations play in building a healthy nation.

... The next surgeon general ... will not redesign the American system of health care and health insurance. That will fall to Obama and the incoming secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle. ...

But he will get to wear a zippy uniform, be on TV a lot and help Americans ask not what the government can do for their health, but know what they must do for their own.