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Poor health coverage hurts U.S. living standards

Written by Diane Archer

Poor health coverage, among other factors, hurts U.S. living standards. While it’s true that the U.S. economy is expanding and the unemployment rate is low, household incomes have not grown for most of the population, and living standards have fallen relative to other developed countries. Because there are few opportunities, the likelihood incomes will grow is small.

Justin Fox reports at Bloomberg.com that, according to the International Monetary Fund, relative to 23 other advanced economies, the U.S. is not performing well and continues to slip behind these other countries on a number of living standard indicators. And, while we are not falling further behind on poverty rates or high school graduation rates, we have always performed poorly on these indicators.

So, though the U.S. may be the wealthiest country in the world, we look pretty bad relative to other countries when it comes to our living standards. A lot of our challenges come from a lack of universal and affordable health care, as well as from widening income and education disparities and high poverty levels.

The IMF suggests that the U.S. needs to grow more jobs and address income insecurity stemming from inadequate health coverage. To do so, we should reform our tax system so that it encourages participation in the work force, reduces income disparities, and helps low and middle-income households. We also should invest in infrastructure and in education. And, we should improve our health care coverage.

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1 Comment

  • Strengthen trade unions, raise the minimum wage, improve living conditions and air quality, shorten working hours, ensure at least 4 weeks vacation and adequate facilities for pleasurable exercise and control the obesity problem would all help.

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