The former chief of the United Nations is criticizing the United States for failing to provide health insurance to about 30 million citizens.
In an interview with the Guardian published on Tuesday, former U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon accused “powerful” corporate interests, such as pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and doctors, of preventing the United States from implementing a universal health care system funded by the government.
“It’s not easy to understand why such a country like the United States, the most resourceful and richest country in the world, does not introduce universal health coverage,” Ban said, according to the Guardian. “Nobody would understand why almost 30 million people are not covered by insurance.”
About 9 percent of the U.S. population is uninsured, compared with less than 1 percent in almost every other rich country, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, the United Kingdom and others, according to World Bank data.
Recently released government data showed that in 2017 the United States did not increase health insurance rates for the first time this decade.
In 2016, 8.8 percent of the U.S. population — or 28.1 million people — did not have health insurance. In 2017, the number of those without health care rose by about 400,000 people to 28.5 million, while the rate of the uninsured did not change.
“While swearing in as secretary general, I pledged I would make this world better for all,” Ban told the Guardian. “Nobody would imagine that there should be so many people — 30 million people — who would be left behind” in the United States.