The Great (Health) Divide

worldThe U.S. is a world leader in so many ways. But a new report indicates we are at the top of the global rankings in an area we’d rather not be leading……health inequality.

From USA Today:

The U.S. has one of the world’s largest health disparities between the rich and poor — behind only Chile and Portugal — and its healthcare system and lack of social supports are to blame, experts say.

Researchers examining surveys on health and income from people in 32 countries found poor Americans reported worse health than rich U.S. residents in significant numbers. 

According to the Washington Post, “Of people in households making less than $22,500 a year, 38 percent reported being in poor or fair health in a survey taken between 2011 and 2013. That’s more than three times the rate of health troubles faced by individuals in households making more than $47,700 a year, where only 12 percent of people reported being in poor to fair health.” added, “Poor people in the U.S. were also more likely than rich people to say they couldn’t get access to care because of the cost, and more likely to report being dissatisfied with their last visit to the doctor. “The United States exhibited large disparities in most measures, making it unique among high income countries,” the authors, Harvard health-policy researchers Joachim Hero, Alan Zaslavsky, and Robert Blendon, write. The other countries with big gaps between rich and poor on all three measures were Bulgaria, Russia, Chile, and Portugal.”

It’s important to note the study interviewed people in 2012, before all provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were implemented. To that end, wrote:

A major limitation of this study is that it didn’t take into account the ACA’s reforms to the insurance market—namely, the expansion of Medicaid to cover about 15 million low-income adults and children…..

What’s more, the results may become newly relevant now that Congress is weighing repealing the ACA and slashing Medicaid funding. quoted Joachim Hero, a health policy expert at Harvard who led the study, as saying, “Anything, any changes that are made that threaten to undo gains in insurance that have occurred since the Affordable Care Act . . . would risk setting us back in an area where the U.S. is in sore need of improvements.”

Share your thoughts on this new report….we’d love to hear them. The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) believes any changes to the current health law must serve the people, patients and communities of Arizona. Therefore, we cannot support the changes proposed under the American Health Care Act (AHCA). We hope you will join us as we continue to fight to bring better health to the people of our state. Making sure Arizonans are as healthy as they can be is the best way to one day reach our long-term goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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