Providing healthcare to poor is a move in the right direction

To the Editor:

According to representatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, approximately 2.5 billion people worldwide earn less than $2 per day.

Every now and then, 10 to 30 percent escape poverty by finding steady employment or by engaging in entrepreneurial activity. However, about the same number fall into poverty, many replacing those who leave.

The greatest creator of poverty lies in health emergencies which greatly outdistance the expected vicissitudes of nature and business (including wedding expenses). However, a change may be occurring as a result of cellphones which are accessible to 90 percent of the world’s poor. The reason? Access to microcredit programs and the delivery of payments that are independent of physical cash. This may sound counterintuitive, but who could doubt the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation from which these numbers come!

In our country, we tend to think of extreme poverty as a condition that lies beyond our national boundaries. However, the causes of poverty must be similar even though the dollar amounts may differ. Moreover, the cures of poverty are likely to be similar as well.

If so, then Obamacare has been faulted unjustly. I would expect Pope Frances would applaud that sentiment. As a champion of the poor of this world, he joins many here in pleading for more compassionate and saner policies especially where our own portion of the world’s poor are concerned.

A recent uptick in a category of new applicants for health insurance might serve to sensitize all of us to the needs of the poor that we do not see. Our prison systems nationwide are beginning to enroll newly exiting prisoners who qualify for health insurance through Medicaid, making lower recidivism rates just one of the benefits of Obamacare. Of course, health insurance keeps bankruptcy at bay even for the nonpoor.

THE REV. WILLIAM S. GANNON

Bedford