Pillar: Health Care and Healthy Communities
The state of your health and the longevity of your life should not be determined by your zip code, but they are. People who live in higher-income areas tend to be healthier and live longer than those who live in low-income areas. The difference in life span can be as great as 20 years. Among the factors for this are: the presence/absence of environmental hazards; age/condition of the housing; the condition of water, sewer, and other public health infrastructure; the presence of supermarkets, sidewalks, bike paths, and open spaces; and the crime levels.
Another thing that impacts our overall health and longevity is whether we have health insurance and access to affordable health care. Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), New Mexico had one of the highest rates of people without health insurance in the nation. The ACA and its Medicaid expansion brought our rates of uninsurance down significantly. Unfortunately, both the ACA and Medicaid face threats at the federal level.
The health of the planet we call home is also a big determinant of public health and well-being. As the impacts of global climate change intensify, communities that are low-income and those of color are not only most likely to be harmed, they also have the fewest resources to cope with the devastation of stronger storm systems, flooding, fires, and more.
The Work We Do to Improve Child, Family, and Community Health
Among the policies we advocate for that improve the health of communities are:
- Common-sense gun safety laws
- Requirements on natural gas producers to capture the methane that is currently leaked, vented or flared into the atmosphere
- Funding for affordable housing
Among the policies we advocate for that improve the health of families are:
- Universal health care for all, such as a Medicaid Buy-in program
- Full funding for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), the nation’s most successful nutrition program
- Full funding for Medicaid
Click here for more on our health work.