A federal guaranteed income is a public health intervention whose time has come.
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The conditions in which we work, live, play, and worship shape our health, and each of these is affected by access to income and wealth. True economic security means everyone has the resources and agency needed to be healthy. A federal guaranteed income has the potential to be a powerful public health intervention because of the critical role income plays in shaping health outcomes.
We know from the data that women, specifically women of color, are who we fail most when it comes to the role economic stability plays in health outcomes. A guaranteed income can specifically support women of color by counteracting centuries of labor extraction and longstanding exclusion from both high wage positions and opportunities for wealth-building. Although guaranteed income alone cannot resolve the deep, persistent, and harmful outcomes of racism and misogyny, alongside other structural reforms, it can be part of a plan to improve health outcomes and reduce mortality rates saving thousands of lives and supporting healthy families and communities.Challenge
Income is an essential determinant of health. Yet Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrant women in particular continue to be systematically denied the very resources that support health. From disproportionately being pushed into low-wage jobs to being paid less relative to their white counterparts, women of color continue to be excluded from many of the established avenues for generating income and wealth today.
Mothers of color confront not only the lower-wages and restricted access to well-paying jobs but also an undersupply of affordable childcare and the additional burden of child care responsibilities. Despite these barriers, mothers have long led the fight for the resources to care for themselves, their families, and their communities. Guaranteed income provides not only an income floor to support these mothers, but also the tools and opportunities necessary for them to support their families and continue to strengthen their communities.
Cash as care is not only about the ability to care for one’s self and one’s family, but about supporting and resourcing the care and work already done by so many.