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Study: Countries That Spend More Money On Social Welfare Programs Have Better Health

Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 4:14pm
Updated: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 4:21pm
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In 2015, America spent $3.2 trillion on health care, nearly $10,000 per person. But, we live shorter, sicker lives than people in most other wealthy countries.

That’s according to a new two-year study from the RAND Corporation that found that counties that spend more money on social safety-net programs have better health outcomes.

The RAND study found that every percentage point that a county spent on social-welfare programs led to about 18 more days of life for every person.

Is the idea that we need to take a broader approach to health care in our country?

That’s what this theory would lead to. Basically, they’re arguing that, even with a health-care system that provides some of the best care in the world, we’ll always be playing catch up to what’s happening outside of the doctor’s office.

So, I spoke with Kathryn Derose, a senior policy researcher at RAND. In her work, she focuses on this link between social conditions and health. And, I asked her if this health-care paradox surprises her.

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