A new report says Americans' life expectancy has been dropping for consecutive years since 2014. According to the report, a major contributor has been an increase in mortality from specific causes like drug overdoses and suicides among young and middle-aged adults.

Medical ethicist Art Caplan told Boston Public Radio Wednesday that the causes cited in the report tracks with what the medical community has found — that premature death rates for young people have increased due to factors including the opioid crisis and a rise in obesity.

Caplan also argued that the American health care system has so many gaps and barriers to access, it is contributing to the mortality rate.

"I think it's our sketchy safety net and it's our full of holes health care system. If you have these problems, we're just not on top of them," he said.

Caplan is the Drs. William F and Virginia Connolly Mitty Chair, and director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.