To Fix Health, Help the Poor

Treating the Healthcare Problems of the Poor
With Social Services Dollars

Elizabeth BradleyIn their December 8, 2011 New York Times Op-Ed piece, “To Fix Health, Help the Poor,” Elizabeth Bradley and Lauren Taylor of Yale University, make the case for increasing social services spending in proportion to health care spending.

Homelessness, while not typically classified as a healthcare problem, can lead to a variety of conditions, many of which are very costly and treated through the emergency room, including frostbite, leg ulcers, upper repertory infections, and trauma from muggings, beatings and rape.

They write:

Out of respect for individuals’ rights, our current social programs are mostly opt-in, leaving holes for the undocumented, uneducated and unemployed to slip through cracks and become acutely ill. Emergency rooms, though, are not allowed to opt out of providing these people extraordinarily expensive medical treatment before discharging them back to wretched conditions and their inevitable return to the E.R.

Click here to read the full op-ed piece.

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