CHICAGO — The nation's health chief told the American Medical Assn. on Sunday that a Medicare reform plan strongly opposed by the group is a solution to skyrocketing medical costs and lack of access to quality care.
Louis W. Sullivan, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said that such solutions are better than a total overhaul of the system.
The U.S. per capita expenditures for health care are the highest in the world, consuming more than 11% of the country's gross national product, "and they continue to rise at an unsustainable rate," Sullivan told more than 1,000 physicians on the opening day of the AMA's five-day policy-making session.
Lags in Health Indices
"Yet the United States lags far behind other industrialized countries in some basic health indices, including average life expectancy and maternal mortality," he said.