Journal of Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Scholarship

Document Type



In the US, policies have actively suppressed the voices of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) while amplifying their oppressors’ voices. In spite of multiple constitutional amendments to guarantee access to the right to vote for those who initially were deprived of this right, attacks on this civil liberty have persisted. While some states have expanded access to voting rights in the past year, many others have made voting more difficult and some states have had a mixed approach of making voting easier in some ways and harder in others. This continued interest in creating systems in which it is harder for people to vote has had indelible effects on population health and has widened health inequities. This essay explores the overlap in restricting access to voting and Medicaid expansion, decisions that disproportionately disadvantage BIPOC while also negatively affecting White residents by hindering expanded access to healthcare. This type of zero-sum decision making, as Heather McGhee articulates in her book, The Sum of Us, exacerbates poorer health outcomes, undermines public health, and widens health inequities.