Poverty and Healthcare

Poverty afflicts all nations, rich or poor alike. In the United States alone, official data showed that between 2000 and 2005, the number of people living in poverty increased by 5.3 million, at a faster pace than the overall rate of population growth in the country. Further worth noting is the fact that most extreme poverty is concentrated in specific geographical areas such as the urban cores of major cities where there exists racially diverse populations, clearly indicating that race plays a role in the determination of poverty rates in America. Various research studies have demonstrated that concentrated poverty, as experienced in racially diverse communities, exacts multiple costs on both individuals and society. They combine to limit the opportunities and quality of life available to residents of high-poverty communities, especially for people of color, who face the greater likelihood of being segregated in urban communities where the rates of poverty are very high. At the same time, costs associated with healthcare were steadfastly rising and it was even estimated that the costs of healthcare for a family of four will double in 10 years and will continue to rise (WHO, 2011). Furthermore, 50% of personal bankruptcies resulted from medical expenses. Obama’s election into the presidential seat in 2008 saw the advent of healthcare reform. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act along with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. This includes certain provisions including the expansion of eligibility criteria in Medicaid, subsidizing insurance, provision of incentives for businesses providing healthcare benefits and prohibition of denial in claims and coverage to name a few. Through this initiative, healthcare can be available to everyone.


Clark, C.M.A. (2005). The economics of poverty in the United States of America. [Web]

Roehr, B. (2008) Health care in US ranks lowest among developed countries. BMJ 337.

World Health Organization (2011). World health statistics 2011. Geneva: World Health Organization. [Web]