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Dear White Women

Mar 25, 2020

Sara and Misasha continue with their income inequality arc in today’s episode, with a special focus on what happens when you’re sick and poor.

Their recent exploration into income inequality issues is part of their deep dive into election issues. If you haven’t yet listened to the last couple of episodes, links are provided so that you can have a greater understanding of the bigger picture.

Join Sara and Misasha in this journey into the lives of those who are unable to take sick days when sick due to financial or logistical hardships, and the potential fallout of working during an illness.

Show Highlights:

  • Misasha shares a discussion from the “Neighborhood” app about an obviously sick woman wearing a mask while working at a pharmacy counter. 
  • There is no federal law that ensures all workers are able to earn paid sick days in the United States.
  • Sick days can be incredibly costly to those who become sick or whose families depend on them to provide care in the event of an illness.
  • Taking needed sick time often means that workers have to choose between going without pay to stay home, or must show up at work sick and delay treatment for themselves or a dependent. 
  • Statistics show that if you’re earning more money, you are better able to get paid sick days. Conversely, if you’re in a low-wage position, you are less likely to receive paid sick days.
  • For the average worker who does not have access to paid sick days, the cost of taking unpaid sick time can make a painful dent in the monthly budget for the worker’s household:
  • Losing a half-day of work due to illness, the lost wages could be equivalent to the household’s monthly budget for fruits and vegetables.
  • Losing 2 days of work due to illness, the lost wages could be equivalent to a month’s worth of gas, thereby making getting to work more difficult.
  • Losing 3 days of work due to illness, the lost wages could be equivalent to the entire grocery budget for the month or their monthly utility budget.
  • In the event of a lengthier illness, such as 7 days of unpaid sick time, a worker could lose the equivalent of a monthly rent or mortgage payment.
  • Research shows that state laws providing the right to paid sick days appear to be having a small but meaningful effect as the share of workers who have access to paid sick time has increased, particularly at the low end of the wage spectrum.
  • Access to paid sick time for low-wage workers has increased since 2012.
  • Unequal access to paid sick days is just one part of the bigger healthcare problem, as it highlights the problems of income inequality.
  • Sara and Misasha discuss cancer treatment and the devastating financial impact with or without health insurance.
  • As the gap between the rich and poor grow, so does the gap in their health.
  • Possible solutions for managing health and equalizing the playing field.
  • Some Democratic candidates are pushing for “Medicare for All”, which is a way to get rid of the private insurance market and offer insurance for everyone through a single-payer system.
  • Two important questions to consider for the upcoming Presidential election regarding “Medicare for All”: 1) How will we pay for it? 2) How will it work?
  • Sara and Misasha cover other considerations regarding “Medicare for All” and what would happen to the private insurance market.
  • Please vote!

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Suggested Episodes:

Episode 50: Why Aren't Black Kids Playing Baseball?

Episode 49: Why Are We Talking About Income Inequality When The Economy Is Strong?

Episode 10: Equal Pay Day: The Reality of Gender Parity