Bush and Governors Discuss Health CarePresident Bush encouraged governors yesterday to support his call for changing the tax code to help more people buy private health-care insurance, but he did not address their pleas to increase funding for a health-care program that insures millions of children of the working poor.

The budget dispute dominated discussions Sunday among governors, who promised to bring the matter to Bush and his Cabinet officials at their private meetings yesterday. At stake is coverage for 6 million people, most of them children, and the hopes of many governors in tackling the larger challenge of the uninsured.

Bush, welcoming the governors after they met privately with administration officials, did not offer any comments about the children's health program, talking rather about his larger proposals.

"I'm looking forward to working with Congress on health care," he said. "I firmly believe . . . that states are often times the best place to reform systems and work on programs that meet needs."

FDA: Bird Flu Vaccine Is Even Less Effective The nation's first vaccine against bird flu is even less effective than previously thought, according to Food and Drug Administration documents.

In clinical trials, the two-shot series appears to provide protection to just 45 percent of adults who received the highest dose of the Sanofi Aventis SA vaccine.

An earlier, interim analysis of the same study of the vaccine suggested that it sparked a protective immune response in 54 percent of patients, when measured 28 days after administration of the second shot.

The FDA released more recent results, contained in company and agency documents, ahead of today's meeting, where it will ask a panel of outside experts to review the vaccine. The vaccine is the first against the H5N1 influenza strain to seek FDA approval.

The FDA said the 452-person study showed that the vaccine against the deadly bird-flu strain called H5N1 is safe, but it remained unclear whether it would be effective. Seasonal flu vaccines, for example, protect 75 to 90 percent of vaccinated adults younger than 65.

Further studies are examining the use of immune boosters, called adjuvants, to try to improve the effectiveness of the H5N1 vaccine.

N. Korea Nuclear Envoy May Visit the U.S.North Korea's top nuclear negotiator may visit San Francisco to meet nongovernmental groups and then go to New York for talks with his U.S. counterpart, the State Department said.

Responding to media reports of a possible visit next month by Kim Kye Gwan to the United States, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters: "I think that he has some meetings, potentially, with some NGOs out there in San Francisco. We're still working through the logistics of a meeting between [him] and Chris Hill," he added, referring to the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

Such talks are envisaged under the Feb. 13 agreement in which North Korea agreed to take steps toward nuclear disarmament for $300 million in aid.

-- From News Services