The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Policies for Action program has released new research that shows how income support programs do more than just reduce income inequality – they also improve health and health equity, making them more critical than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
George Wehby, UI professor of health management and policy, was co-principal investigator of one of the studies that examined the effects of a minimum wage on child health.
Key findings from the studies include:
- Increasing both the minimum wage and Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) by 10% would likely prevent over 700 suicides each year.
- Increased childhood exposure to the EITC is associated with improved self-reported health and reduced obesity rates in adulthood.
- A $1,000 increase in the maximum available EITC is associated with a 4% – 4.7% reduction in the likelihood that mothers report poor mental health days in the past month.
- A $1 increase in the minimum wage over the first five years of is associated with a 10% increase in the probability the child is in excellent health.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) had a positive impact on the health of children with disabilities and reduced Medicaid costs. It resulted in 30 percent lower Medicaid expenditures through age 8.