A report released this week by Trust For America’s Health, Promoting Health and Cost Control: How States Can Improve Community Health and Well-being through Policy Change analyzes state action on 13 wide-ranging policies outside the traditional healthcare sector that have been shown to have a long-term impact on community health and lower healthcare spending.
“As a nation, we’re over-relying on medicine and under-investing in prevention,” said Nadine Gracia, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Trust for America’s Health. “The U.S. is spending trillions of dollars on health care, but Americans aren’t getting healthier and having better health outcomes. Numerous factors impact our health, many that are outside of the health care sector, such as where we live and work, where our children go to school and learn and play.”
Only seven political divisions, including the District of Columbia have widespread paid family leave policies.
“Being able to take care of family members or to have that time off, we know that actually helps,” said Gracia. “Even for new mothers, for example, it helps to improve maternal and child health and decrease some of the disparities that we see in birth related health issues for moms and their new babies. Paid family leave policies have been shown to reduce the likelihood of having a low birth weight infant or a preterm birth.”
Only nine political divisions, including the District of Columbia have rapid rehousing programs, which are designed to reduce homelessness by giving those people homes, so that they aren’t committing crimes to put a roof over their heads.
“We see that having actual permanent housing does improve health outcomes and also it increases your economic opportunities,” said Gracia. “The ability, for example, to go and find jobs and have greater stability within your community.”
Financial support for the Promoting Health and Cost Control: How States Can Improve Community Health and Well-being through Policy Change report was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.