WASHINGTON (The Hill/AFP) – More than 37 million Americans currently live in poverty, according to Census Bureau statistics, with increases among non-Hispanic white and Hispanic individuals seen between 2019 and 2020.
Income is also commonly cited as a social determinant of health as low income individuals are more likely to suffer from chronic disease and die from any cause in the United States.
Several solutions have been proposed to address wealth inequality, which disproportionately affects people of color. These include implementing the Earned Income Tax Credit, increasing Social Security income, and raising the minimum wage.
By modeling the potential health benefits of four hypothetical income support policies, researchers found each policy could prevent thousands of deaths among working age adults annually when compared with no intervention. Findings of the exploratory analysis were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Health Forum.
The four policies modeled included a universal basic income intervention whereby each adult received $1000 per month, and a smaller transfer of $500 per month for those with a household income of less than $100,000 per year–the latter intervention being a modified version of the LIFT act.
The third intervention provided an income guarantee of at least 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) for 1 adult (measured at $12,760 in 2019) while the last policy was a negative income tax, which guaranteed an income equal to 133 percent of the FPL and rewarded earned income up to a threshold, researchers explained.
Adults in the models were aged 18 to 64 and simulations estimated all-cause mortality over 5 to 40 years into the future.
Researchers found universal basic income averted between 42,000 and 104,000 deaths among adults each year, compared with 19,000 to 67,000 deaths averted each year from a negative income tax.
President Joe Biden is under pressure as U.S. inflation hit 8.6%, highest in 40 years.
U.S. inflation surged to a new four-decade high in May, defying hopes that price pressures had peaked and deepening Biden’s political troubles as Americans struggle to meet the cost of essentials like food and gas.
Government data released Friday put inflation at 8.6%, extending increases not seen for a generation, with gas prices hitting daily records fueled by the conflict in Ukraine and supply chain challenges related to the pandemic.
Biden, whose popularity has taken a hit as prices surge just months before November’s midterm elections, has made fighting inflation his top domestic priority but is finding he has few tools to directly affect prices.