The minimum wage has been raised, but I’m still amazed at how people are paying ever-increasing rent, eggs, and prescriptions for just $500 a week–minus taxes. Our lawmakers need to pass House Bill 25, raising wages further and indexing them to inflation; here’s why.
First, keep your financial debates going. I’m a physician with workplace and public health training, and I’ve seen firsthand how underpayment hurts our people. My own practice welcomes workers of all skills, social status and compensation. Their desires are universal and simple – to excel at the jobs they are good at and to bring home enough money in their pockets to take care of themselves and their loved ones.
But just look at medical and public health research: Low pay is linked to job dissatisfaction, poor self-esteem, absenteeism, and triggers a biological stress response leading to pain, headaches, fatigue, poor sleep, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, anxiety, depression and work-related injuries. Is it enough?
Do we need research to convince us how disease comes with empty wallets? Anyone who has eaten knows it. Furthermore, poor worker health is costly to everyone and gets more expensive every year, but the essential jobs of feeding, cleaning, caring, educating, and building our nation will be paid by employers for less and less real For the price paid, these employers’ businesses survive in a race to the bottom.
So why replay this debate every time inflation takes money out of our pockets? Pass House Bill 25, raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation, take the pressure off us, and be done. Personally, I want to take care of my worker patients knowing that their illnesses are not caused by non-medical, injustice, and preventable things like empty wallets after a long day at work.