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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Exploring the relationship between state-level minimum wage policies and health-related outcomes: An analysis of 2004 BRFSS data

Kelly P. McCarrier, MPH, Dept. of Health Services, University of Washington, Box 357660, Seattle, WA 98195-7660, 206.898.0189, kpm25@u.washington.edu

Background: The federally-mandated minimum wage of $5.15/hour has not increased since 1997, resulting in many workers in low wage occupations earning less than the cost of living. In response, 18 states have enacted laws mandating a higher minimum hourly wage in their jurisdiction. Proponents of these policies argue that this will result in significant reductions in poverty among the “working poor” and improved health and quality of life for affected workers. While previous studies have addressed the economic effects of minimum wage laws, these purported health effects have not been empirically examined. Research Objective: To describe the relationship, if any, that exists between state-level wage policies and self-reported health status, health insurance coverage, and health service utilization. Methods: 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data were analyzed using multi-level regression models to control for potential confounders at both the state (cost-of-living, income inequality, social capital, etc.) and individual (demographic factors, health risks and behaviors, etc) level. Results/Significance: Preliminary analyses indicate significant associations between higher minimum wage laws and health-related outcomes. Specifically, respondents in states with a minimum wage higher than $5.15/hour reported better general health, had higher odds of having health coverage (OR=1.27; CI: 1.18-1.36), and had lower odds of experiencing financial barriers to receiving needed medical care (OR=0.84; CI: 0.78-0.90). The study is among the first to provide evidence of the potential health effects of these policies at the individual level. As such, it will allow stakeholders to make more informed decisions about the impact of wage policies.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the end of the presentation, participants will be able to

    Keywords: Health Care Access, Public Policy

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:

    Any relevant financial relationships? No

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