Professor says link between poverty and health is clear, supports basic income

Roderick Benns

A professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba and the co-founder of EvidenceNetwork.ca says a basic income floor would create better health outcomes for Canadians.

Noralou Roos, the founding director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, says the link between poverty and health is clear.

“I’ve spent my whole career understanding the factors related to health and health status,” says Roos.

“It’s very clear how strongly poverty is related to poor outcomes, in both health and education. I became very interested in this as a phenomenon,” she says.

With regard to the cost of implementing a basic income, Roos says that one time at a conference she remembers someone comparing the cost of more hospital beds versus the cost of increasing incomes for lower-income Canadians.

“It was dramatic, the savings from increasing incomes,” she says, referring to the upstream benefits.

“One of the things we’ve found in the research that we’ve done is the lower your income, the sicker you are.”

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