Health Trickles Down as Economy Trickles Up

The government reported today that for the first time since 1999, median household income in America rose, no doubt due to economic growth presumably spurred by tax cuts.

But there is always a “but,” and in this case is it a huge one. The number of Americans without insurance kept growing, from 15.6 percent to 15.9 percent – up to 46.6 million people.

The rise in uninsured probably reflects the fact that medical costs are rising three times faster than wages and the fact that the poverty rate has stayed the same. One obvious conclusion is that economic growth is not trickling down.

Since this blog is not about economic theory, let’s talk about health. An article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that during this same rosy scenario of rising income, the rate of “severe poverty” was increasing. One result is the likelihood of increasing chronic illnesses, more complications from existing disease, more demands and costs for health care and increased learning disabilities, drug use and crime among children.

By the way, the highest rate of uninsured was in Texas.

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