Access to Health Care Doesn’t Eliminate Health Disadvantage of Poor Education

Report Cover: Health Care Necessary But Not SufficientInteresting new brief from the VCU Center on Society and Health on the relationship between education and health. Most would find it unsurprising that people with less education tend to have poorer health outcomes. But does improved access to health care remove this disparity? Or as, they put it in this brief, “[w]ill health care reform make high school dropouts as healthy as college graduates?”

It won’t. According to this report, while access to health care has a bigger impact on people with limited education than for those with more education, access to health care isn’t enough to overcome the educational disadvantages associated with poor health: “People with fewer years of education have worse health than those with more education—even when they have the same access to health care.”

The authors go on to recommend that the adverse health consequences associated with a limited education “will require other policies that target factors outside of health care.”