Former UN Chief Ban Ki-moon: US For-Profit Health System 'Politically and Morally Wrong'
Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in an interview with the Guardian published Tuesday, called out the United States for failing to ensure that all Americans have healthcare, urged national leaders to implement a universal, publicly-funded system, and denounced the “powerful” private interests that continue to undermine efforts to make such a transition.
Speaking to the newspaper in New York City, where U.N. General Assembly meetings are ongoing, Ban declared that it is “unethical” and “politically wrong, morally wrong” to deprive people of healthcare, which he sees as a “human right.” Noting that the United States is “the most resourceful and richest country in the world,” he said, “Nobody would understand why almost 30 million people are not covered by insurance.”
Ban’s comments come as a growing faction of the American public, political candidates, and elected officials fight for a transition from the current for-profit system to a single-payer or Medicare for All healthcare system that guarantees everyone has the healthcare they need. Polling released by Reuters last month found a record number of Americans—70 percent—are now in favor of that transition.
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However, Republicans in Congress and the White House as well as private interests that benefit from the existing system—such as pharmaceutical companies, the insurance industry, hospitals, and some doctors groups—seem hellbent on blocking any measures that would establish universal healthcare across the United States.
“Here, the political interest groups are so, so powerful,” Ban noted. “Even president, Congress, senators, and representatives of the House, they cannot do much so they are easily influenced by these special interest groups.”
President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress, though, have actively worked not only to block Medicare for All efforts, but also to take away Americans’ healthcare by sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and limiting access to social safety net programs through work requirements and other restrictions.
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