MEDPAGE TODAY: Expanding Voter Rolls Could Improve People’s Health, Experts Say

Expanding Voter Rolls Could Improve People's Health, Experts Say

— "High level of correlation" between voting and better health outcomes

by Joyce Frieden, Washington Editor, MedPage Today 

A close up of a male physician pointing to a VOTE pin attached to his white coat

What's a good way to improve population health? One answer might surprise you: increasing the number of patients registered to vote.

"There is a high level of correlation between people who are engaged in voting and better health outcomes," Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, said last week at a webinar on voting and health sponsored by the National Academies Roundtable on Population Health Improvement, along with several other organizations. "Improving voting access is a fundamental way to improve our healthcare system. It is a parallel system to what we are already doing at the legislative and regulatory level to improve healthcare."

Daniel Dawes, JD, made a similar point at an event several weeks ago announcing the launch of the Health & Democracy Index, a database of information on the relationship between voting and health. "Voting can mean the difference between life and death, health or sickness, for many people in our communities," said Dawes, who is executive director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. "The crucial act of voting immeasurably affects our lives, including our personal health and the overall health of our country."