According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-American babies die almost 2½ times as often as white babies in the United States; poor children are 43 percent more likely to have asthma than their better-off peers; and people without a high school diploma are almost twice as likely to develop diabetes as those who have more than a high school education. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act gives federal health officials a new opportunity to address these issues and expand care in low-income and minority communities — but is this the right focus? Some experts say that even preventive health care measures are not preventive enough. What will really help make our population healthier, they say, is more funding for education. Decreasing the number of high-school dropouts will lead to better jobs that are more likely to offer health insurance, safer homes that aren’t in polluted areas, and greater access to health information and nutritious food.
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