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Why reducing poverty — and stress — might be the key to better health

Look at the health data for just about any collection of neighborhoods in California and one thing will soon become clear: Poor people are sicker and, on average, die younger than people with higher incomes.

The medical profession, social workers and health researchers have known this for a long time. But exactly why it is so remains, surprisingly, a mystery. Answering that question and then doing something about it would probably improve health more than all of the reforms advanced by President Barack Obama and so bitterly despised by his opponents.