How Better Health Care for the Poor Makes a Stronger Economy for All

Published on Yes Magazine,  (appeared first on Color Lines … and later also on truthout), by Imara Jones, April 7, 2014.

By keeping workers healthy, the Affordable Care Act will help the working poor achieve greater financial stability—and will probably boost the economy as well.

As the enrollment date for Obamacare came to an end this week, one overlooked fact is that the law could have a dramatic impact on the job security and earnings of the working poor. More than one out three people who’ve signed up for coverageearn below the poverty threshold qualifying them for Medicaid, with the incomes of millions more eligible for subsidies to help pay insurance premiums.   

Disproportionately, people of color are clustered in jobs that pay by the hour and these individuals are more vulnerable to income loss due to their own illness or that of a family member. That’s why the long-term effect of the law, with its potential to increase wellness and decrease illness among Americans on the economic margins, could be genuinely a big deal for the economic well-being of America’s working poor.
Each year the United States loses between $200 billion to $260 billion in economic output due to the illness of its workers. To put these massive numbers in context, if worker illness could be cut in half, the nation’s economy would grow up to 50 percent faster than it has for the last three years … //

… As Kai Wright recently wrote, “three out of four uninsured people had jobs in 2013” and make less than $25,000 a year. Nearly six out of 10 were people of color. If access to healthcare reduces time off from sickness by just two days a year for America’s lowest-wage workers, it will help keep millions of families from experiencing real economic hardship or even job loss.

Of course these real benefits of a fully-functioning and fully-implemented Affordable Care Act—as Obamacare is formally known—is lost in the broader controversy over the economic impact of the law. That’s why Obamacare’s early missteps and current administrative twists and turns are so damaging: they prevent the Affordable Care Act from being as effective as the country needs it to be for the working poor and people of color.

But as I have written before, Republican governors such as Rick Perry of Texas claim that we will look back on Obamacare to see “taxes skyrocket and our economy crushed as our budget crumbled.” Yet these doomsday predictions fail to take into account the current economic nightmare caused by the lack of access to healthcare for America’s historically marginalized communities.

To the contrary, the evidence suggests that both for America’s working poor families and the nation’s economy as a whole Obamacare could very well prove an essential economic lifeline.
(full text).

Links:

Color Lines, News for Action: /About; /Now; /Obamacare; /contact;

and it’s project Race Forward.org, the center for racial justice innovation: /about; /contact;

Six Books That Shaped ‘Afro-Vegan’ Author Bryant Terry, on Color Lines, by Julianne Hing, April 8, 2014: Cookbook author and food activist Bryant Terry is back with a new book, and this time he’s leaning heavily on flavors from the African diaspora …;

How You Can Successfully Treat TB Without Drugs, on Mercola.com, March 18, 2006 ! … and also as linkon my Gesundheits-Blog. (Question for 10′000 Euros: does the medical body has listened to that – since 2006 !! – and does the pharmaceutical industry will accept to make less benefits, if we need less costy medics ???).

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