'Basic Guaranteed Income' needed to improve health of low income patients | Unpublished

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The BigPush Campaign's picture
Calgary, Alberta
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The BIG Push is a historic national campaign for basic income in Canada.

Our goals for The BIG Push campaign are to:

- Raise public awareness of basic income
- Build public and policy support for an expanded system of basic income in Canada
- Secure public commitments to expand the system of basic income in Canada

To learn more about the The Big Push Campaign and how you can get involved, please visit our website: http://www.thebigpush.net/

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'Basic Guaranteed Income' needed to improve health of low income patients

February 21, 2014

Rob Rainer Basic Income Canada Network 2018 27th Street S.W. Calgary, AB T3E 2E7 February 21, 2014 Dear Rob: I am writing in support of the BIG Push Campaign to promote the implementation of a Basic Guaranteed Income program in Canada. I am a family physician, and I serve a large population of individuals and families who live in poverty. Every day, through my patients’ stories, I hear that the biggest barrier many of them face to improving their health is their lack of income. I am frustrated to no end in trying to help people improve their health when they do not have the fundamental social foundation to do so. And the most basic element of this foundation is their income. The evidentiary link between low income and poor health outcomes is well studied and indisputable. The evidence for the positive health and economic impact of interventions that improve the income of people living in poverty is growing and points strongly toward both a major improvement in health and significant cost savings to society. Of interest, communities that have experimented with a Basic Income intervention have demonstrated an improvement in health outcomes for the community as a whole, even for individuals who did not directly benefit financially. While I can continue prescribing the usual medical interventions including drugs, better diet, and more exercise, I doubt I will see a significant improvement in my low income patients’ health until their poverty is directly addressed. A Basic Guaranteed Income offers a relatively simple solution to this dilemma, and I expect would result in an improvement in the health and well-being of many of my patients and in the communities I work with. For these reasons, I am lending my heartfelt support to the BIG Push campaign. I hope this support is echoed through the Canadian health world, and through our society. Sincerely, Gary Bloch Family Physician Assistant Professor, University of Toronto