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Assignment 1 - Letter to the Editor (Mark Received: 19.5/20)

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Health Sciences
Health Sciences 1002A/B
Jessica Polzer

Health and Wealth—And inequality and stress I am writing in regards to your article titled—and about the relationship between —“Health and Wealth”. I agree that there is a correlation between socioeconomic status and life expectancy. However, I would like to dispute your reasoning behind this conclusion. Access to health care does affect life expectancy. However, unequal access to resources as well as the stress associated with being poor has greater effects on overall health, and in turn, life expectancy. The title of your article suggests there is a strong relationship between “Health and Wealth.” As seen in the film “Unnatural Causes” (California Newsreel, 2008), Jim Taylor, a CEO of a hospital, is healthy. He does not have any chronic illnesses and can still do things he could in his twenties. Mary, an unemployed mother of three, is the opposite. She lives in the poorest district in Louisville, and her health reflects this. She has thyroid problems, arthritis, and what she describes as “a little of everything.” Mary has more health problems and less access to health care compared to Jim Taylor—Does this mean access to health care services directly affect life expectancy? The answer is: not necessarily. A study conducted by Wilkins (2007, as discussed in Raphael, 2007) revealed that Canadian men in the richest quintile live approximately five years longer than those in the poorest. This study confirms that despite having equal access to health care, “significant inequalities in health” between the wealthy and impoverished still persist (Rafael, 2007, p. 4). This phenomenon is known as the Medicare Paradox. It suggests that there are other factors contributing to the difference in life expectancy. The first factor is the unequal distribution of resources. Those who are in a lower socioeconomic class experience a lot more material and social deprivation than those in upper HS1002: Assignment 1 1 classes. These include—but are not limited to—poor housing, food insecurity, no access to social resources, etc. (Rafael, 2007). Mary from the film, for example, lives in a small house in the poorest district. She can only spend $
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