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Reducing Health Disparities by Poverty Status

In this policy brief, Barbara Wolfe shares recent research evidence on the connections between low income and poor health in the United States. Wolfe, the Richard A. Easterlin Professor of Public Affairs, Economics, and Population Health Sciences, and Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, examines the latest figures on disparities in health insurance coverage, access to care, and health. National health survey data on health status of children and adults by poverty status reveal significant disparities by income, especially among adults. Adults living below the poverty line are five times more likely to experience health limitations and fair or poor health than nonpoor adults. Wolfe describes the major health care programs that serve poor Americans and suggests cost-effective, evidence-based policy options to reduce and prevent these disparities that could be funded by shifting some current public health expenditures on efforts that have not proved successful.


Child Poverty, Children, Health, Health Care, Inequality & Mobility, Place, Racial/Ethnic Inequality, Social Determinants of Health, Spatial Mismatch


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