Increase economic mobility

blue stack of moneyWhy should I care?

Poverty and poor health go hand-in hand. In fact, a recent study found a life expectancy gap of more than 10 years between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the poorest 1 percent, with that gap increasing over time. Here is a snapshot of how poor Americans' health suffers more than that of wealthier Americans:

CDC, Health, United States Living at 400% or more of poverty  Living below 100% of poverty
No usual source of health care, adults ages 18-64  9.9%  27.3%
Have had colorectal tests or procedures, adults ages 50-75
 70%  45.6%
Adults 18+ with 2-3 chronic conditions  16.6%  23.3%
Serious psychological distress in prior 30 days, adults 18+  1.3%  8.3%
Disability among adults 18+  22.1%  42.8%

We must close the income inequality gap in our country to help close the health gaps that our poorest neighbors are enduring from coast to coast. We can do this in a variety of policy ways that work together.

What can I do?

Support raising the minimum wage for U.S. workers and families. If Congress raised the federal minimum hourly wage to $10.10, 25 million U.S. workers would benefit and 5 million to 6 million Americans would be lifted out of poverty. By making a livable wage, these Americans could afford better health care, healthier food options and safer living conditions for their families. Also, higher wages have been linked to fewer premature deaths and reduced infant mortality.

Speak up on behalf of safety net programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that help millions of American families make ends meet, put food on the table and climb out of poverty. Social issues like poverty, education and housing are closely intertwined with access to health care and have a direct effect on health. However, the U.S. spends less on our social safety net programs than other countries — all of whom experience longer life expectancy than we do.

Tell Congress to support paid sick leave and family leave. Not allowing workers to take time off when they’re sick can have serious consequences for public health, including the spread of disease. Workers without paid sick leave are faced with a difficult decision every time they or a loved one are sick – stay home to recover or care for a sick child or go to work because they cannot afford a smaller paycheck. Today, more than 37 million private-sector U.S. workers have no access to a single day of paid sick leave, forcing them to compromise their health and the health of their communities. This is despite the fact that researchers have found paid sick leave ordinances have little to no effect on business.

Take action HERE if you agree that it’s time to move forward with a national law to ensure all working people in the U.S. can earn paid sick days. The federal Healthy Families Act would give workers more flexibility in taking care of themselves and their families.

Step it up!

Mom and Dad walking with child

American Public Health Association