International Development News
Development News Edition

Former UN chief urges US leaders to enact publicly-financed healthcare as 'human right'


Former UN chief urges US leaders to enact publicly-financed healthcare as 'human right'

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has denounced the US healthcare system as politically and morally wrong, and urged American leaders to enact publicly-financed healthcare as a "human right".

Ban made the comments on Monday in an exclusive interview with the Guardian in New York, as part of his work with The Elders, a group founded by the late anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela to work on issues of global importance, including universal health coverage.

The US has the world's most expensive health system, accounting for nearly one-fifth of American gross domestic product and costing more than $10,348 per American.

The UK, in comparison, spends a little under 10 percent of the GDP, according to the latest available statistics, and health care is free at the point of delivery.

"It's not easy to understand why such a country like the US, the most resourceful and richest country in the world, does not introduce universal health coverage," said Ban.

"Nobody would understand why almost 30 million people are not covered by insurance."

Failing to provide health coverage, he said, was "unethical" and "politically wrong, morally wrong".

He accused the "powerful" interests of pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and doctors that "inhibit the American government" of moving towards universal healthcare.

"This is for the people. Leaders are elected because they vowed that they would work for the people," Ban told the Guardian.

"They are abandoning people because they are poor, then these poor people cannot find a proper medical support."

Despite astronomical spending on health, millions in the US live entirely outside the health system, uninsured and unable to go to the doctor without incurring hundreds or thousands of dollars in debt.

Since President Donald Trump was elected, an additional 4 million people have lost health coverage, according to a recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund.

Health coverage has become a major issue ahead of the Congressional midterm elections in November, which are widely seen as a referendum on Trump's America.

Progressive Democrats have called for Congress to enact "Medicare-for-all", a proposal to expand the public health programme which covers all Americans older than 65.

Establishment Democrats have argued for the expansion of Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

'No escape from telephones', this 1953 prediction actually comes true

In 1953, a telephone company chief predicted that therell be no escape from telephones in the future....

With Ayodhya verdict, CJI starts clearing high profile pending cases

Ending all the speculations, the Chief Justice of India Mr. Ranjan Gogoi who is due to retire on November 17 decided to deliver the verdict in Ayodya dispute at 10.30 am on Saturday which is not a working day for the Supreme Court. This is ...

How partnerships and collaborations could enhance teacher training

Monica Malhotra Kandhari, Managing Director, MBD Group shares her views on public private partnership and collaborations in education sector. She supports her propositions with her organisations success stories....

Fixed Test centers would facelift level of WTC in India

The venues for the test matches in India should be fixed so that World Test Championship matches remain fair....

Videos

Latest News

Crisis-swept Lebanon in gridlock after Safadi withdrawal

Lebanon slipped deeper into political crisis on Sunday after the withdrawal of a top candidate for prime minister narrowed the chances of creating a government needed to enact urgent reforms.Mohammad Safadi, a former finance minister, withd...

Abrogation of Article 370 right step for Ladakh: Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said the Narendra Modi government is committed to bringing all-round development to the newly created Union Territory of Ladakh and abrogation of Article 370 was the right step in this direction. The ...

Bolivian interim leader meets UN envoy amid violence fears

Sacaba Bolivia, Nov 17 AP A UN envoy met with Bolivias interim president Saturday to find a way out of the countrys political crisis while the world body expressed concern the situation could spin out of control amid a rising death toll. On...

UPDATE 2-'Crown jewel' Aramco stirs loyal Saudi demand for giant IPO

From taxi drivers to clerics, Saudis clamoring to own part of state oil giant Aramco went online and to local banks on Sunday at the start of a long-delayed share sale for what could be the worlds biggest initial public offering. Ahmed Sana...

Give Feedback