Easy Enough To Fix

Poverty raises risk of cardiac arrest

People living in Multnomah County’s poorest neighborhoods face a much higher risk than the county’s richest residents of having their hearts suddenly stop, a new study with potentially broad implications for public health services has found.

And though sudden cardiac arrest is more common in senior citizens, the gap between rich and poor was widest in those under 65. In that younger group, residents of neighborhoods with the lowest average home values and fewest college graduates were more than twice as likely to suffer the heart crisis as those in the richest areas.

My guess is that people in poorer neighborhoods have poorer diet and health habits such as smoking and drug use. But this would be “blaming the victim” and runs counter to the prevailing wisdom that health is something that is bequeathed by politicians rather than the result of personal choices.

So the problem is, how to we equalize the risk. One way, the preferred method, is for the government to step in take over the health industry as was done in Canada, That way the government can insure that a politician’s grandchild receives no better and faster care than the meth freak that collapsed behind a dumpster. Especially if the meth freak is the politician’s grandchild. But I’m not sure that people will react well when they realize that their healthcare is going to get worse so that other’s healthcare can get better. I think that would result in a lot of doctors relocating across the border to Mexico and “the rich” going there for treatment rather than waiting. That’s what the Canadians do.

Another way, which would be easier, would be to pass a law requiring doctors and medical facilities to treat people regardless of their ability to pay. “Civil Rights” organizations could then monitor the statistics to insure that “the rich” are not receiving better more timely care than the less fortunate and sue if the numbers are not coming out correctly. The doctors might not think this is such a good idea because they would get the work but not the money. So that one is unlikely as well.

The other one is for the government to raise taxes and give money to the poor to purchase health insurance. But in that case, the evil Insurance companies would profit, and there would be an outcry of ‘No Blood for Money’ or something equally silly. There’s also the problem that many in the poorer areas DO have healthcare.

These neighborhoods are not monolithic. There’s working people living there that do have healthcare, there’s also poor people that have the Oregon Health Plan. There’s also a lot of people living in these neighborhoods that just never developed the habit of going to the doctor regularly.

But there’s only one right answer and the researcher’s knew that going in.

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