Poll: Higher Income Means Better Health

United Way argues inadequate health care hurts economic mobility

Ohio Statehouse
Ohio Statehouse

In results that will likely surprise no one, the 2013 Ohio Health Issues Poll found that higher-income Ohio adults reported better health than those with lower incomes.

In 2013, 59 percent of Ohio adults above 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or roughly $15,856 for a single-person household, reported “excellent” or “very good” health, compared to only 26 percent of those below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $11,490 for a single-person household.

For those at the bottom of the income pool, the results fluctuate from year to year. In 2012, 36 percent of those below 100 percent of the federal poverty level reported “excellent” or “very good” health. Only 21 percent reported similar results in 2011.

The poll led Ross Meyer, vice president of community impact for United Way of Greater Cincinnati, to ask in a statement, “Do healthy people make more money because they can work more days or at better jobs? Or are people who make more money healthier because they have resources to preserve and improve their health?”

As part of its “Bold Goals for Our Region” initiative, the United Way intends to get at least 70 percent of the community to report “excellent” or “very good” health by 2020. About 53 percent of adults in southwest Ohio currently report such health, according to the Ohio Health Issues Poll.

The poll was conducted between May 19 and June 2 through phone interviews with 868 adults around the state. The poll had a margin of error of 3.3 percent. It was conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research for the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

The poll previously found more than 1.25 million Ohioans

lack health insurance

, which the Health Foundation is using as more evidence Ohio should pursue the Medicaid expansion.

Under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), the federal government is asking states to expand Medicaid to include anyone at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. In return, the federal government will pay for the entire expansion for the first three years then wind down its payments to 90 percent of the expansion’s total cost. That’s much higher than current levels; the federal government today pays for about 60 percent of Ohio’s Medicaid costs.

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio

previously found

the the Medicaid expansion would save Ohio $1.8 billion and insure nearly half a million Ohioans in the next decade.

In separately reported results, the same Ohio Health Issues Poll found 63 percent of Ohioans

support the expansion