Ezekiel Emanuel

Chair, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health (since 1996)

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Why He Matters

Health policy expert "Zeke" Emanuel was drafted to the White House health-reform team in February 2009 to advise then-Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag, himself something of a health-financing wonk, on overhauling America's health-care system. It was an opportunity to work with his younger brother, former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Trained as an oncologist, Emanuel took leave from his job heading the medical ethics department at the National Institutes of Health to advise the OMB on anything that fell within his areas of expertise, with health-care reform high on his agenda.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Special Health Adviser to Director, Office of Management and Budget ( February 2009 to January 2011) Chair, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health (1996 to 2009); Associate Professor, Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Harvard University (1992 to 1996)
  • Hometown: Wilmette, Ill.
  • Alma Mater: Amherst College, B.S. (chemistry), 1979; Oxford University M.Sc. (biochemistry); Harvard Medical School, M.D.; Harvard University, Ph.D. (political theory)

Path to Power

Emanuel is the oldest son of Benjamin Emanuel, who was born in Jerusalem before the creation of the state of Israel, and worked with Irgun, a Jewish underground movement, before moving to Chicago. There he became a pediatrician and met the woman who would become his wife, Marsha, an X-ray technician and civil- rights activist.

"Politics and the civil rights movement were very much a part of our family life," Zeke told the Washington Post. "We went on Martin Luther King's march on Cicero [a neighborhood in Chicago] with my mom."

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The Issues

"I have more or less carte blanche by [Orszag] to work on things related to health," Emanuel said in 2009.

As an M.D. among economists, Emanuel has worked on everything from the administration's response to the H1N1 "swine flu" epidemic and resulting Global Health Initiative to planning a wellness program aimed at disease-prevention.

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The Network

Emanuel's brother, Rahm Emanuel, is Barack Obama's chief of staff.

At the Office of Management and Budget, Emanuel reports to director Peter Orszag. He also works with health economist Jeffrey Liebman, and Keith Fontenot, head of the OMB health desk.

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Additional Resources

  1. http://www.medicaldirective.org/
  2. Whorunsgov.com interview with Ezekiel Emanuel, June 5, 2009
  3. Bumiller, Elisabeth, "The Brothers Emanuel," The New York Times, June 15, 1997
  4. Connolly, Ceci, "President Pivots on Taxing Benefits," The Washington Post, June 3, 2009
  5. Emanuel, Ezekiel, "New research That Should Inspire the Candidates," Campaign Stops Blog, NYTimes.com, October 17, 2008
  6. "Obama's Health Care Reformist," ABCNews.com, June 3, 2009
  7. Hendrix, Steve, "Fighting for the Spoils," The Washington Post, October 22, 2006,
  8. Sahadi, Jeanne, "Health reform: A $1 trillion Question," CNNMoney.com, May 28, 2009
  9. Ezekiel Emanuel biography, National Institutes of Health Web site
  10. Chen, Edwin and Aliza Marcus, "Emanuel the Doctor Helping Obama Deliver Health Care Overhaul," Bloomberg News, March 4, 2009
  11. Emanuel, Ezekiel J., "Healthcare, Guaranteed," New York: Public Affairs Books, 2008
  12. Everybody's a Critic Blog, TheAtlantic.com
  13. "The Emanuels," The Charlie Rose Show,
  14. "Biography: Ezekiel J. Emanuel," TheAtlantic.com, March 13, 2009
  15. Pear, Robert, "A Hard-Charging Doctor on Obama's Team," The New York Times, April 17, 2009
  16. Emanuel, Ezekiel and Victor R. Fuchs, "A Comprehensive Cure: Universal health Care Vouchers," The Brookings Institution, June 4, 2009
  17. Halperin, Mark, "Another Emanuel Joining Obama Team," The Page, Time.com, December 18, 2008
  18. Chen, Edwin and Aliza Marcus, "Emanuel the Doctor Helping Obama Deliver Health Care Overhaul," Bloomberg News, March 4, 2009
  19. Palin, Sarah, "Statement on the Current Health Care Debate," Facebook, August 7, 2009
  20. Kliff, Sarah, Politico, "Zeke Emanuel leaves the White House," January 7, 2011
  21. Scherer, Michael, "Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama's 'Deadly Doctor,' Strikes Back," TIME Magazine, August 12, 2009
  22. Murray, Shailagh and Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post, "House Passes Health-Care Reform Bill without Republican Votes," March 22, 2010
  23. Bachmann, Michele, "The President's Health Care Advisers," Michele Bachmann's YouTube channel, July 31, 2009
  24. McCaughey, Betsy, "Deadly Doctors: Advisers Want to Ration Care," The New York Post, July 24, 2009
  25. Emanuel, Ezekiel, "The Problem with Tax-Exempt Health Insurance," Campaign Stops Blog, NYTimes.com, October 10, 2008
  26. "Biography: Ezekiel J. Emanuel," TheAtlantic.com, March 13, 2009
  27. "The Emanuels," The Charlie Rose Show,