Waxman Challenges Administration Role in Global Health Report
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on Monday argued that the administration of President Bush has not adequately addressed concerns about global health issues because of political concerns, pointing to a report by former Surgeon General Richard Carmona that the administration declined to release, the Los Angeles Times reports (Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, 7/31).
The 65-page report, titled "Call to Action on Global Health":
- Reviewed efforts to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria;
- Charted trends in infectious and chronic disease;
- Advocated public health monitoring efforts to help detect potential acts of bioterrorism;
- Touted the importance of proper nutrition, childhood immunizations, and clean air and water;
- Examined the link between poverty and poor health;
- Recommended that the U.S. government make combating disease a key component of U.S. foreign policy; and
- Recommended that businesses help improve health conditions in countries where they operate (Lee/Kaufman, Washington Post, 7/29).
On Monday, Waxman released Carmona's report, as well as an HHS outline detailing the administration's recommendations for the report (Los Angeles Times, 7/31).
Current and former public health officials allege that William Steiger, head of HHS' Office of Global Health Affairs, blocked the report because it did not reflect the administration's efforts or positions on some public health matters.
HHS requested changes to Carmona's draft, but Carmona declined to make the changes.
A former HHS official told the Post that Carmona appealed to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on the issue but that it was not resolved.
Steiger disputed the characterization of the delay, saying that "political considerations" did not come into play in the report's delay. Instead, he said that "sloppy work, poor analysis and lack of scientific rigor did" (Washington Post, 7/29).
On Monday, Carmona declined to comment on the issue but said he would be available to testify before Congress if requested (Los Angeles Times, 7/31).