Social Determinants As Public Goods: A New Approach To Financing Key Investments In Healthy Communities

Citation:

Len M Nichols and Lauren A Taylor. 2018. “Social Determinants As Public Goods: A New Approach To Financing Key Investments In Healthy Communities.” Health Aff (Millwood), 37, 8, Pp. 1223-1230.

Abstract:

Good research evidence exists to suggest that social determinants of health, including access to housing, nutrition, and transportation, can influence health outcomes and health care use for vulnerable populations. Yet adequate, sustainable financing for interventions that improve social determinants of health has eluded most if not all US communities. This article argues that underinvestment in social determinants of health stems from the fact that such investments are in effect public goods, and thus benefits cannot be efficiently limited to those who pay for them-which makes it more difficult to capture return on investment. Drawing on lesser-known economic models and available data, we show how a properly governed, collaborative approach to financing could enable self-interested health stakeholders to earn a financial return on and sustain their social determinants investments.