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Sullivan Says More Gov't Won't Solve Health Crisis

By Jeffrey C. Wu

At an address at the Kennedy School of Government, Federal Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis W. Sullivan called on communities and individuals to become involved in the battle to reform the country's health care woes.

Speaking at a luncheon before almost 250 faculty members, community leaders, health advocates and students at the dedication of the Kennedy School's new A. Alfred Taubman building, Sullivan said a national health insurance program was not the solution to the country's lack of adequate health care.

National Program Not Needed

"We do not need a national health insurance program as a solution to the health care problems that we face," he said. "Besides the exorbitant cost, the lack of economic efficiencies, and the faceless bureaucracy that this would cause, national health insurance systems around the world are characterized by diminished health care services, delays in providing services, and even outright denial of care for some."

The secretary, who said he had begun a "series of public discussions with the American people," called on individuals, families and the private sector to help the government in its efforts to provide health care for everyone and find a solution that is "uniquely American."

"Good health is the result of a partnership between personal conduct, family and community support, and our health care system," he said. "No one can work alone. Working in tandem and in partnership, they powerfully thrust us on and down the road to good health and long life."

Specifically, Sullivan said the limited resources that the nation had allocated to health care should be spent more efficiently. Money should be targeted toward the more cost-effective strategy of preventing illness and injury instead of "waiting to devote substantial resources to address illness and disability after it strikes," he said.

Sullivan took a small health care initiative at the luncheon by requesting that no red meat be served. Chicken was served instead.

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