Not Just a Paycheck

On the Health Equity Quiz I only got a 3/10! I was surprised by many of the statistics but some of the most surprising to me was that we spend two and a half times as much money per person on health care than other industrialized nations, yet American life expectancy is in 29th place compared to other countries. The case study I chose to summarize is the episode “Not Just a Paycheck.” As you might be able to decipher from the title, the episode discusses the turmoil that things like job loss and globalization can have on the health of Americans. Specifically, the example of the Electrolux Corporation, formally in Greenville, Michigan, that closed in 2006. The factory moved to Mexico in order to save money on salaries and maximize company profits. This meant job loss for many people that relied on their job to support themselves, and maybe families, which can lead to great stress and many health problems, some of which may be due to increases in stress hormones in the body. Some of these issues include conditions like depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, and cardiac issues. The episode even tells us that “in 2004 this local hospital treated 80 cases of depression, attempted suicide, and domestic abuse. In the year following the Electrolux closing, that caseload nearly tripled.” Continuing on, we are also told that, “Where you stand on the economic ladder is a good predictor of health.” This is because “wealthy Americans have more options, resources, and power” when it comes to health. This fact, overall, helps further the point that unemployment, which can lead to being “un- wealthy” can have an negative effect on health.

Politics, economics, environment, culture, biology, and individual choice all influence the development, spread, and treatment of illness. Politics and economics can play a role in illness by controlling things like who receives health care and vaccines. Culture plays a role by influencing life styles and how people react to illness. Biology plays a role because illnessses are developed and spread biologically, and biology is also required for finding a treatment. Finally, individual choice plays a large roll because people chose for themselves the way they want to live and deal with illnesses. A person’s lifestlye has great affect on their health, and how they respond to illness.



Not Just a Paycheck. Unnatural Causes. NACCHO, 2008. Web. 13 July 2012. <>.

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