In Sickness & in Wealth
Income and wealth inequalities have huge health impacts. What are the health advantages of being rich as compared to being poor? You’ll live longer and your quality of life will be better. With deep pockets you get lots of vacation time, live in capacious apartments or houses, you have nannies to take care of the kids, cooks and house cleaners. And you eat well. Organic arugula, shitake mushrooms, fresh-squeezed carrot juice. You have access to the best medical care money can buy. You get annual checkups. Whereas if you are indigent you wait and wait and hope the lump on your breast will disappear and the pain in your tooth will just go away. Being well off frees you from the mental stress of worrying about where your next meal is coming from and where you will sleep tonight.
Dr. Stephen Bezruchka is on the faculty of the Department of Health Systems and Population Health at the University of Washington. He worked for many years as an emergency physician in Seattle. He worked in Nepal for more than a decade where he helped set up a community health project a week’s walk from the road. He also established a remote district hospital for training Nepali doctors whom he supervised. He is the author of Inequality Kills Us All: COVID-19’s Health Lessons for the World.