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SOC102H1 (261)

Income inequality

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Lorne Tepperman

Income inequality What income inequality does :  Disempowers- by depriving people of income, influence and authority  Disconnects- by reducing social connectedness and depriving people of social contacts  Misinforms- by depriving people of useful information about opportunities  Devalues- by depriving people of self-esteem and self-worth  These effects also lead to desperation, risk taking  Income inequality mediates these processes (and is well-measured), so we focus on income inequality.  Recent study finds that patients from different income groups are treated in a different way - Very low income people are using the parts of the health care system that are in greatest crisis (are put in the “bad parts of the hospital”). Poorer patients are more likely to be hospitalized for mental health issues, visit emergency departments for non-urgent issues, and remain in acute care hospital beds while waiting to be transferred to more appropriate care in the community, such as nursing homes. - Wealthier patients are more likely to receive same-day surgery than low income patients Current concerns  Fast growing cost of medicines - Currently, only drugs taken during in-hospital treatment are covered by medi-care. Research on inequality illustrates the population health perspective  A population health perspective focuses on how social variables influence the physical and psychological well-being of large groups of people.  Health is viewed as a societal problem, not a personal problem (though experienced personally) Differences in vulnerability  Some groups are more vulnerable to health problems (including infectious diseases, obesity, and injuries) than other groups  These different levels of risk are usually a result of economic and social inequalities  We know this through our ability to measure precisely the effects of illness and disease. Life expectancy; a good general measure of population health  The average number of years remaining to a person at a particular age, given current age- specific mortality rates.  Varies geographically and demographically, but overall global life expectancy has increased dramatically in the past century The role of class inequality  The most famous proof of an inequality effect is found in the Whitehall Studies  Lifestyle differences were ruled out as causes  Whitehall studies found higher mortality rates from all causes for men of lower employment grades. - Esp
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