Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One point about 'poverty'

There is one thing I don't get about poverty being blamed for increased infectious diseases.

A growing "gulf between the rich and poor" is evident in the increasing number of patients hospitalised with infectious diseases, according to the author of a report on the trend.
A study by the University of Otago, Wellington shows hospitalisations from infectious diseases have increased by 51 per cent from 1998 to 2008.
The patients were mainly aged under 5 or more than 70 and from lower socio-economic areas.

We hear a lot about child poverty but it is well-known that New Zealand's elderly are amongst the least-poor in the developed world. There are even implied suggestions from some quarters that the elderly should get less social assistance and the young, more.

Remember the graph I used earlier from the Household Incomes Report:

• In 2010, the 60% AHC fixed line poverty rate for the 65+ age group was 7%, compared with 12% for 45-64 year olds, 15% for 18-44 year olds, and 22% for children (aged 0-17 years). 

• The lower hardship rate for older New Zealanders reflects the mix of universal public provision (mainly NZS) and the private provision built up by most of the current cohort over their lifetime. A key component of this private provision is mortgage-free home ownership which is relatively high among the current cohort.


Danyl said...

I'm no public health specialist, but my guess is that the elderly have compromised immune systems; in a healthy society they benefit from the herd immunity to infectious diseases. In a poorer, sick society they're more vulnerable, even though they're not living in poverty themselves.

Kiwiwit said...

We will see more of this sort of thing as New Zealand continues to decline into Third World status. The solution is strong economic growth, which history shows benefits everyone in health, wealth and happiness.

Professor Murdoch's call for "social policies [that] look at improving access to healthcare, improving housing, and issues related to poverty" are codewords for more of the Socialist policies that have caused our decline in relative living standards over the past 50 years and that will make it increasingly difficult for New Zealanders to afford adequate health care in future.