2021-02-09 01:28:57 UTC
More rightist deaths expected.
People Living In The South Have Shorter, Sicker Life Expectancies Than
Americans living in parts of the southern United States areas often
burdened with disproportionate crime, poverty, limited health care, and
poor schools will likely live fewer healthy years post-retirement
compared to their counterparts in other regions, according to a Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released last week.
CDC researchers analyzed census data between 2007 and 2009, collected
death certificates, and conducted telephone surveys during which
respondents described their health. The report showed that while Americans
on average enjoyed 14 years of good health after retiring, residents of
southern states spent many of their final years in and out of emergency
rooms and clinics. According to the report, Mississippi, Kentucky, West
Virginia and Alabama had the lowest numbers for life expectancy and
healthy life expectancy. Black people also fared worse across the board,
with a life expectancy that averaged three years less than that of whites.
The trend is obvious throughout what has been dubbed the poverty belt,
where more than one in three people live in high-poverty areas:
poverty beltCREDIT: JAN DIEHM FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST
Where you live in the United States shouldnt determine how long and how
healthy you live but it does, far more than it should, said CDC
Director Tom Frieden in a press release last week. Not only do people in
certain states and African-Americans live shorter lives, they also live a
greater proportion of their last years in poor health. It will be
important moving forward to support prevention programs that make it
easier for people to be healthy no matter where they live.
The report underscores a health care battle well underway in numerous
states. Nearly a year after the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA),
also known as Obamacare, governors in 24 states including six southern
states still havent expanded Medicaid benefits to more than five
million Americans, many of whom live in states along the southern poverty
belt and suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other life-
While staunch opponents of Medicaid expansion contend that the policy
takes a toll on state budgets, theres some evidence to the contrary. The
federal government allocates generous funding for states that choose to
expand their public insurance programs. In April, the Congressional Budget
Office estimated that states would spend less than two percent more on
Medicaid and the Childrens Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP,
because of the ACA. Medicaid expansion can also help generate millions of
dollars in revenue by creating more state jobs.
And recent studies published in Oxfords Quarterly Journal of Economics
and the New England Journal of Medicine tell another side to the story.
According to that research, Medicaid expansion improves access to care
after one year, improves overall health status within two years, and saves
lives within five years.
Southern states are already seeing some of the consequences of rejecting
the expansion. In Mississippi, the rate of uninsured people jumped by
three percent more than 137,000 people because Gov. Phil Bryant (R)
refused to expand Medicaid. Representatives of the Alabama Hospital
Association recently reported that Gov. Robert Bentleys reluctance to
expand Medicaid may have resulted in the shuttering of a dozen rural
hospitals in the state.
While people living in states without Medicaid expansion have incomes
below the poverty line, they do not qualify for traditional Medicaid
benefits, often doled out to low-income parents, children, and people with
disabilities. Although many of them consider themselves healthy, according
to data collected in a Kaiser Family Foundation data set, one medical
emergency can threaten their financial security and that of the countrys.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a member of the 33-member Congressional State
Medicaid Expansion Caucus, summed up his frustration with recalcitrant
governors in a statement to the press last week.
By not expanding Medicaid, governors around the country and at home in
Tennessee are conveying a message that they have little concern for the
neediest, sickest, and most desperate of their constituents, said Cohen.
While this may not be Governor Haslams intention, the reality of the
situation is that 234,000 of our states most needy are going or will go
without the health coverage that they need and that President Obamas
health care reform law says they should have. Studies have even shown that
thousands of Americans each year will die avoidable deaths because of lack
of access to Medicaid. That is unacceptable.