At the Politics of Poverty blog hosted by Oxfam America, Andrew Yarrow writes about a new National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report. An excerpt:
…Yet, neither lack of health insurance nor poverty fully accounts for America’s miserable health ratings. Even well-to-do, white, college-educated Americans with health insurance fare less well than their counterparts in almost every other rich country.
While the report devotes only a paragraph to the role of high economic inequality, other researchers—notably Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better—argue that highly unequal income distribution harms all members of society. They posit that social stress, status anxiety, social competition, and lack of trust born of inequality lead to poorer health…
Moral arguments against excessive inequality have recently been supplemented by macroeconomic evidence that inequality hinders economic growth and contributes to greater economic volatility. Now, we may add that inequality is medically harmful.