Does a Higher Income Have Positive Health Effects? Using the Earned Income Tax Credit to Explore the Income-Health Gradient, by Jeff Larrimore (Milbank Quarterly)
Context: The existence of a positive relationship between income and morbidity has been well documented in the literature. But it is unclear whether the relationship is positive because increased income allows individuals to purchase more health inputs that improve their health, because healthy individuals are more productive and thus can earn higher wages in the labor market, or because a third factor is improving health and increasing income. This article explores whether increases in income improve the health of the low-income population.
Methods: Because health status may affect income, this article uses an “instrumental variable” strategy that considers income variations over seventeen years of changes in the generosity of state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC, a measure that should be exogenous to health status). I measured health status using both the self-reported health status and the functional limitations indicated on the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), as well as the self-reported health status indicated on the March Current Population Survey (CPS).
Findings: I found only limited support for the theory that the relationship between income and morbidity is derived from shifts in income. Although I did observe a correlation between income and self-reported health, I found no evidence that increases in income significantly improve self-reported health statuses. In addition, while increases in income appear to reduce the prevalence of hearing limitations when using corrective measures, these increases did not have a significant effect on most of the other functional limitations considered here.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that the ability to improve short-term health outcomes through public transfer payments may be limited. However, the lifetime effects on the health of people with higher incomes would still be a valuable avenue for future research.
Grading the New US Preventive Services Task Force Prostate Cancer Screening Recommendation, by Robert J. Volk and Andrew M. D. Wolf (Journal of the American Medical Association)
Prostate Cancer Screening—Time to Abandon One-Size-Fits-All Approach? by Jeri Kim and John W. Davis (Journal of the American Medical Association)
Missing the Mark on Prostate-Specific Antigen Screening, by David C. Miller and Brent K. Hollenbeck (Journal of the American Medical Association)
Prostate Cancer Screening—The Evidence, the Recommendations, and the Clinical Implications, by Roger Chou and Michael L. LeFevre (Journal of the American Medical Association)
Copyright and Open Access at the Bedside, by John C. Newman and Robin Feldman (New England Journal of Medicine)
Building the Path to Accountable Care, by Elliott S. Fisher, Mark B. McClellan and Dana G. Safran (New England Journal of Medicine)
Confirming the CMS Nominee — Overcoming Poisonous Politics, by John K. Iglehart (New England Journal of Medicine)
Achieving Accountable Care — “It’s Not About the Bike,” by James Walker and Aaron McKethan (New England Journal of Medicine)
Reversals of Established Medical Practices: Evidence to Abandon Ship, by Vinay Prasad, Adam Cifu and John P. A. Ioannidis (Journal of the American Medical Association)
Where Are the Health Care Cost Savings? by Ezekiel J. Emanuel (Journal of the American Medical Association)
Two Years and Counting: How Will the Effects of the Affordable Care Act Be Monitored? by Robert H. Brook (Journal of the American Medical Association)
Withholds to Slow Medicare Spending: A Better Deal Than Cuts, by Jonathan S. Skinner, James N. Weinstein and Elliott S. Fisher (Journal of the American Medical Association)
A Tale of Coronary Artery Disease and Myocardial Infarction, by Elizabeth G. Nabel and Eugene Braunwald (New England Journal of Medicine)