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Minimum wage a public health issue?
February 6, 2021 - 8:21 pm

Some states, and perhaps soon the federal government, are considering increasing the minimum wage. President Joe Biden voiced his support for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour while on the campaign trail, and also included it in his recent economic stimulus package. A ballot initiative in Florida to raise the statewide minimum by 2026 passed in November 2020. While discussions around raising the minimum wage typically center on the economic benefits and potential labor force impacts that would affect low-wage workers, there are also population health benefits to consider. These range from better physical and mental health outcomes to indirect influences on individual behaviors that affect health—but the existing research is limited at best. However, what we do know suggests that raising the minimum wage may not be uniformly helpful. Should policy makers pursue raising the minimum wage, it will be key to do so in a way that does not exacerbate long-standing inequities in both income and health.

 

Source: JAMA

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