Within the global warming debate, there is a tendency to focus on the delayed affect that climate change will have on our way of life.  However, the carelessness of the American way of life coupled with the affects of global warming have already been felt and our bound to intensify with time.

Currently, a heated political debate about health care is in progress throughout the United States.  According to the National Coalition on Health Care, the United States is spending $2.5 trillion on healthcare, which is 17.6 percent of the gross domestic product.  This amount is more than any country and has been steadily rising each year, leading many to argue in favor of reform.

As a student interested in the field of public policy, I have closely followed this debate, with a particular emphasis on urban areas such as Los Angeles and Chicago.  As this video shows, the impact of smog on human health can be particularly harmful. Health Effects of Smog

The bad air condition along with the affects of global warming can be best seen in the book Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago.  In this text, Eric Klinenberg describes the severity of the Chicago 1995 heat wave: “The heat index, which measures the temperature that a typical person would feel, could top 120 degrees” (1).  Believed to be caused by global warming,

The effects of global warming can and are being felt, especially in lower-income communities.

The effects of global warming can and are being felt, especially in lower-income communities. Courtesy of MSNBC.

what made this situation worse was that many of the lower-income residents of the city had no cool place to go to.  For that reason, many died and others were hospitalized with heat-related illnesses.

Poor nations and areas, such as inner cities, have inadequate access to resources such as air conditioning and clean water, and for that reason they are the most likely to suffer as the climate continues to warm up.  Millions of these people are without health insurance and as the climate rises they are likely to costs the government trillions of dollars in health insurance bills.

Although many public policies need to be instituted to improve the conditions in inner cities, one way to address this issue is to implement climate change policy.  This can be a positive step in reducing health care costs, improving inner-city communities, and cooling the planet.  So if we can knock out three huge issues at once, my only question is what’s stopping us?

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