Ban Ki-moon recently criticized the state of the U.S. healthcare system as part of his work with The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
- Ki-moon served as secretary general for the United Nations from 2007 to the end of 2016.
- He said special interests are blocking the American government from pursuing universal healthcare.
- 30 million Americans are not covered by insurance. A 2018 poll shows that more than half of Americans would support a single-payer healthcare plan.
A snapshot of the U.S. healthcare system<p style="">The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, even though, as Ban mentioned, some 12.2% percent of American adults <a href="http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-health-insurance-survey-20180116-story.html" target="_blank">lacked health insurance at the end of 2017</a>, up from 10.9% at the close of 2016. According to 2016 data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:</p><ul> <li>The U.S. spent $3.3 trillion, or $10,348 per person, on healthcare.</li><li>Healthcare spending accounts for about 18% of U.S. GDP.</li><li>Americans spent about $1.1 trillion on private health insurance and $328.6 billion on retail prescription drugs.</li></ul><p><img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/18657636/980x.png"></p>
Corporate interests inhibit quality of life in America<p style="">Ban told <em>The Guardian</em> that the sectoral interests of pharmaceutical companies and hospitals "inhibit the American government" and prevent it from working toward universal health coverage.<br></p><p>"Here, the political interest groups are so, so powerful... Even president, Congress, senators and representatives of the House, they cannot do much so they are easily influenced by these special interest groups," adding that he hopes some progressive states pave the way for publicly financed healthcare.</p><p>"It will be either California or New York who will introduce this system," he said. "Then I think there will be many more states who will try to follow suit. I think that's an encouraging phenomenon we see."</p>
Do Americans want single-payer healthcare?<p>In recent years, there have been growing calls from the left and from some progressive politicians to implement <a href="https://bigthink.com/brandon-weber/new-study-claims-medicare-for-all-would-ruin-the-usa-financially-ummm" target="_blank">Medicare For All</a>, a single-payer plan that would guarantee <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/single-payer-healthcare-pluses-minuses-means-201606279835" target="_blank">health insurance and necessary healthcare to all Americans</a>. And while most Democratic lawmakers have shown mixed feelings about pursuing a single-payer plan, a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/page/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2018/04/12/National-Politics/Polling/release_517.xml?" target="_blank">Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation</a> poll from February showed that 51 percent of Americans would support a single-payer plan.</p><p>However, passing such legislation remains virtually impossible as long as both chambers of Congress are controlled by Republicans, many of whom not only oppose Medicare For All outright but also have tried to chip away at the less expansive Affordable Care Act.</p>
Diners consumed 45 fewer calories per meal.
Travelers order meals using McDonald's restaurant digital menu boards self-serve kiosks with touch screen in passenger area at Terminal 1 of Humberto Delgado International Airport on September 04, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Horacio Villalobos (Corbis)
- According to the CDC, obesity is costing the U.S. $147 billion each year in medical costs.
- The new Cornell study found that knowing calorie information helped diners eat less.
- Experts believe this could force chain restaurants to offer healthier, low-calorie options
Photo: Hero Images<p>The cost to restaurants does not nearly equate to those on our medical infrastructure. According to the CDC, obesity is costing the U.S. <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html" target="_blank">$147 billion</a> each year. This involves direct and indirect medical problems related to being overweight, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, immune system-related problems, and many other ailments.</p><p>John Cawley, a professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell, views the calorie listing on menus as an easy to implement solution. </p><blockquote>It's a cheap policy to put in place, and the fact that there is a reduction in calories ordered makes it appealing.</blockquote><p>While not the only solution, it's a step in the right direction. Awareness is a catalyst for change, and one thing is certain: we can't keep heading blindly in the direction we've been going. The consumption of unhealthy high-calorie foods, beginning with the <a href="https://livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe50s/life_15.html" target="_blank">frozen dinner revolution</a> of post-World War II America right up through <a href="https://www.livestrong.com/article/274448-starbucks-pumpkin-spice-latte-nutrition-information/" target="_blank">pumpkin spice lattes</a>, has made us a sick and diseased nation. Every calorie counts. </p><p><em>--</em></p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p>
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