Towns Trying Out Basic Income Are Already Changing Lives

Proponents of the basic income say that what these studies fail to take into account are the savings government would see in other areas from a reduction in poverty.

“Poverty is the greatest predictor of hospitalization and health problems,” Segal says. He points to research by University of Manitoba professor Evelyn Forget, who is credited with rediscovering a long-forgotten basic income experiment in Dauphin, Manitoba, in the 1970s. When the town’s residents were given a “mincome” for three years, use of the publicly funded health insurance system dropped 8 percent, Forget’s research showed.

Given that Canada spent an estimated CA$242 billion on health care costs in 2017, a decrease of 8 percent nationally would amount to a savings of more than CA$19 billion on health care costs nationally, offsetting nearly half of the estimated cost of a basic income. 

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