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New report emphasizes the need for lawmakers to invest in health equity
Deeper and smarter investments in education, infrastructure, economic security, housing, and other priorities that serve us all can eliminate barriers to good health for low-income residents and communities of color, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
While access to health care plays an important role in influencing health outcomes, opportunities for better health begin where we live, work, learn, and play – and these are factors that are largely shaped by state budget and policy decisions.
Washington state is relatively healthy compared to the rest of the nation, yet opportunities to be healthy are not equitably distributed. Where there is greater income and wealth inequality, there are also greater disparities in health. Income and wealth inequality and a history of structural racism have created barriers to health for communities of color and low-income residents in Washington. For example:
These health inequities are unjust, and can be reversed. Where and how much our lawmakers choose to invest as a state – and how they raise the revenue to make investments – can determine whether (and for whom) opportunities to be healthy exist. This legislative session, state policymakers can invest in programs and policies that give everyone a chance to lead a healthy life. Lawmakers should remove barriers to better health by advancing policies that:
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report underscores the incredible impact our legislative priorities will have on producing healthy and thriving communities across Washington. Read the full report, “Better State Budget, Policy Decisions Can Improve Health.”