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Picture a graph that shows a sharply rising line representing persons living in severe poverty in the U.S. Superimpose over that graph another graph that depicts the failing health of those living in severe poverty.

If you position these shameful graphs just right you can arrive at two conclusions:

1 – The financial drain of providing health care to those living in severe poverty is going to make the rest of the public seriously ill.

2 – We are all going to live in severe poverty unless we pull those in severe poverty to a decent level of income.

Although the article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine does not quite get to my second conclusion what it has to say is plenty bad.

Rapid Increase In Severe Poverty In The US Has Serious Implications For Public Health

Since 2000, Americans have been getting poorer, and national rates of severe poverty have climbed sharply, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The percentage of Americans living in severe poverty–earning less than half of the poverty threshold–grew by 20% between 2000 and 2004, and the proportion in higher income tiers fell. The researchers reported that the number of Americans living in severe poverty increased by 3.6 million between 2000 and 2004.

“These trends have disturbing implications for society and public health,” said Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH, Professor of Family Medicine, Epidemiology and Community Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, and lead author of the study.

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