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Dainius Puras is professor of child psychiatry at Vilnius University in Lithuania, a Distinguished Visitor with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, and a “Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health,” with the United Nations. In that capacity, on February 2, in a letter obtained by the Washington Post, Dr. Puras wrote to acting U.S. Secretary of State Thomas Shannon about his “serious concern” that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would strip Americans of their rights. “There is a strong presumption” Dr. Puras wrote, “that retrogressive measures taken in relation to the right to health are not permissible,” under international law.
Actually, doc, the United States has no obligation to heed a “Special Rapporteur” or anybody else from the United Nations, particularly on health. The UN has admitted its role in a 2010 cholera epidemic in Haiti that killed nearly 10,000 people and afflicted 800,000. Doctors Without Borders estimates the number of deaths at three times higher. Aside from that and other lapses, the UN is unaccountable international bureaucracy heavily subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.
As we noted, UN salaries are more than 50 percent higher than U.S. government executive salaries, and the actual salary is 161.3 percent of what the UN pay chart shows. For all its peace rhetoric, the UN has failed to prevent wars such as the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq conflict and has been useless against terrorism. The UN has promoted collectivist schemes such as the North-South Economic Dialogue and New World Information Order, a design for international press censorship. And don’t forget, Kurt Waldheim, UN Secretary General from 1972-1982, was a Nazi war criminal. After this emerged, Waldheim still got his gold-plated pension.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration should ignore Dr. Puras and replace the ACA with a system that empowers patients, not government. That done, start scaling back payments to the UN, which is really the United Governments, wasteful, counterproductive and intrusive.