Dr. Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Emanuel: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Dr. Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel. (Getty)

President Donald Trump will be meeting with Dr. Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, the architect of Obamacare, on Monday to talk about health care reform, the White House says.

Emanuel, who is a former member of the Obama administration and the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Trump will sit down at 11:30 a.m. in the Oval Office, along with Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Health and Human Services Director Tom Price, as the Republicans attempt to gain support for their health care bill.

Emanuel has defended Obamacare and has criticized the GOP plan to repeal and replace it.

Here’s what you need to know about Dr. Emanuel:

1. Emanuel Has Recently Been Hired by Fox News as a Contributor & Met With Trump in December

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel was recently hired by Fox News as a contributor to offer healthcare and policy analysis on the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, according to Variety. He has appeared on the network several times to discuss Obamacare and the Republican plan to repeal and replace.

His meeting Monday at the White House will not be the first time he has sat down with President Donald Trump. He met with him in December when Trump, then the president-elect, was preparing to take office, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“I think the president-elect has been very clear that Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced. He is looking at all ideas. I think even folks like Dr. Emanuel has talked about ways in which to improve upon it,” Sean Spicer told the Sun-Times after Emanuel’s Trump Tower meeting with the president-elect. “I think it continues to show the open mind at which (Trump) approaches all of these problems.”

Emanuel talked to CNBC about the meeting in January, saying “The one thing I really got from him, … as he said on the campaign trail, he does want to create a system that Americans can be proud of that has universal coverage, and he wants it to be bipartisan.”

2. He Has Claimed the GOP’s Healthcare Plan Is in a ‘Death Spiral’

In an interview on Fox Business earlier this month, which you can watch above, Emanuel said the GOP healthcare plan is “in a death spiral.”

He said the “Freedom Caucus, which has said it doesn’t like (Paul) Ryan’s plan, and you also have, by the way, every major medical association voting against Speaker Ryan’s plan. … Doctors and hospitals are against this plan. It is definitely going down.”

Emanuel previously told Salon he doesn’t think Obamacare is a “disaster,” but, “although this may seem counterintuitive, Trump is actually well positioned to make great improvements to the health care system.”

Emanuel told Salon that Trump and Republicans have a “tremendous opportunity to do enormous good for the nation,” but could also “create chaos.”

3. He Grew Up in Chicago as the Son of a Jerusalem-Born Pediatrician & Went to Harvard Law School

Ezekiel Emanuel, Ryan Lizza and EJ Dionne attend The New Yorker’s David Remnick Hosts White House Correspondents’ Dinner Weekend Pre-Party at W Hotel Rooftop on April 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Getty)

Emanuel, 59, grew up in Chicago. His father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, was born in Jerusalem and worked as a pediatrician, providing free care to poor immigrants, according to the Washingtonian. His mother, Marsha Smulevitz Emanuel, a Chicago native, was a nurse and social worker who was involved in civil rights.

His younger brother, Rahm Emanuel, is the mayor of Chicago. His youngest brother, Ari Emanuel, is the head of a Hollywood talent agency, William Morris Endeavor. He also has an adopted sister, Shoshana Emanuel, who has cerebral palsy.

“We don’t accept the current circumstances as somehow given,” Zeke told the Washingtonian in an interview about him and his brothers. “We’re always challenging. We want to know, ‘Can it be better? Let’s make it better.’ It often comes across as we don’t respect authority a lot.”

Emanuel graduated from Amherst College in 1979 and received his master’s degree from the University of Oxford in biochemistry. He then followed in his father’s footsteps, attending Harvard University Medical School.

He completed his residency at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital and his oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Emanuel is divorced and has three daughters.

4. Emanuel Worked as a Professor at Harvard Before Entering the Public Sector, Working for NIH & the Obama Administration

Ezekiel Emanuel, Annie Lowry and Ezra Klein attend The New Yorker’s David Remnick Hosts White House Correspondents’ Dinner Weekend Pre-Party at W Hotel Rooftop on April 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Getty)

After working at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as an oncologist, Emanuel turned to academic medicine, according to his biography.

He worked as an associate professor at Harvard Medical School until 1997.

Emanuel then began working in the public sector, first as the Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the Clinical Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

In 2009, Emanuel joined the Obama administration to help craft its health care reform plan. He worked as the Special Advisor for Health Policy to Peter Orszag, then the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Emanuel left the White House in 2011 and moved to the University of Pennsylvania, where he is the head of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy.

He has written and edited nine books and more than 200 scientific articles.

5. Obamacare Opponents Called Him the ‘Deadly Doctor,’ Falsely Claiming He Wanted to Limit Treatment for the Elderly & Disabled Youth


Emanuel was a major target of Obamacare opponents during the efforts to get the Affordable Care Act passed. He was dubbed a “deadly doctor” in a 2009 New York Post piece.

The article’s author, and other opponents of the bill, falsely claimed Emanuel wanted to limit treatment for the elderly and children with disabilities for the greater good.

“Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else,” Post columnist Betsy McCaughey wrote in July 2009. “Many doctors are horrified by this notion; they’ll tell you that a doctor’s job is to achieve social justice one patient at a time.”

Emanuel, according to McCaughey, says, “Don’t give much care to a grandmother with Parkinson’s or a child with cerebral palsy.”

Sarah Palin attacked Emanuel, saying he has “Orwellian” thoughts and wants to put in place an evil system with “death panels”

Emanuel told Time, “I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. It is incredible how much one’s reputation can be besmirched and taken out of context.”

He told Time, “I guess I have a better appreciation for what Rahm had to go through for years and years. I am an Emanuel. We are pretty thick-skinned. I am not going to change my colors. I am not going to crawl under a rock.”