Dr. Michael Forster

Poverty hurts health, so why don’t we seem to care?

I just saw some new research work on the relation of poverty and health, but I won’t relate that here, now.  Just assume for the moment that the connection is crystal clear.  It would seem to follow, then, that if we (i.e. the USA) were serious, as we claim to be, about affecting health outcomes, we’d be a helluva lot more serious about addressing poverty than we appear to be – especially given that poverty has been on the rise for decades, and continues to climb.

Sadly, many of the same policymakers who stay in a constant lather over trying to roll back Obamacare (that would be a large number of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives) seem either oblivious to the long-term corrosive impacts of poverty, or, worse, intent on eroding the few social supports – food stamps, unemployment insurance, health care access – that mitigate those impacts.

Is “compassionate conservatism” so absolutely and completely dead – perhaps a relic of a time when politicians at least occasionally rose to the call of statesmanship and made efforts to solve problems of substance for the general welfare of the people?

If so, why?  Can anyone in Washington really, with a straight face, embrace the tired canard that poverty is caused by “too much welfare” for “people who don’t want to work”?  What’s next?  Poor people seeking health care “really don’t want to be well”?

Dr. Michael Forster
Dr. Michael Forster

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