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BUSH APPOINTEE BLOCKS RELEASE OF HEALTH REPORT

A surgeon general's report in 2006 that called on Americans to help tackle global health problems has been kept from the public by a Bush political appointee without any expertise in medicine or public health, chiefly because the report did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments, according to current and former public health officials.

The report described the link between poverty and poor health, urged the U.S. government to help combat widespread diseases as a key aim of its foreign policy, and called on corporations to help improve health conditions in the countries where they operate. A copy of the report was obtained by the Washington Post.

Three people directly involved in its preparation said its publication was blocked by William R. Steiger, 37, a specialist in education and a scholar of Latin American history whose family has long ties to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Since 2001, Steiger has run the Office of Global Health Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Richard Carmona, who commissioned the report while serving as surgeon general from 2002 to 2006, recently cited its suppression as an example of the administration's efforts during his tenure to give scientific documents a political twist.

Steiger said in a statement that "political considerations" did not delay the report; "sloppy work, poor analysis, and lack of scientific rigor did."

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