Your Opinion: Governing styles affect health metrics

Dear Editor:

Continuing my defense of the thesis that progressive governance produces superior results to those of conservative governance, I close with the health metric’s eight categories.

The eight categories are life expectancy, child death rate, teen death rate, incidence of overweight/obesity diagnoses, primary care physician availability, infant mortality, overall senior health and health insurance coverage. Thus, using the same technique, there will be 40 slots for the top five best performing states in these categories and 40 slots for the poorest performing.

Also, the number behind each state will indicate the number of categories in which the state appeared as either one of the best or one of the worst. No number will indicate that the state only appeared once in one of the eight categories.

The states with the best outcomes and the best overall care were:

Hawaii (4), Minnesota (3), California, New York, Connecticut (5), New Hampshire (5), Massachusetts (7), New Jersey (2), Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Vermont (4), Maine, Alaska, Iowa and North Dakota. The states with the worst outcome and worst overall care were Mississippi (7), West Virginia (3), Alabama (3), Louisiana (5), Oklahoma (3), Montana, Arkansas (2), Wyoming, South Dakota, New Mexico, Alaska, Kentucky, Utah, Texas (2), Idaho, Nevada (2), Tennessee, Delaware, Ohio, Florida and California.

For those focusing on the appearance of California, the rating was in the area of insured. California has formed its own exchange under Obamacare and has elected to participate in the Medicaid Expansion. I expect that ranking to change positively within the next few years.

Delaware has addressed its low ranking in infant mortality by directly targeting the poor commencing in 2009. In other words, two progressive states saw government as functionally responsible for improving critical metrics. North Dakota’s high ranking in health insurance directly results from its progressive uninsured CHAND Program.

All my critics have wondered what the relevance is for Missouri.

The answer should be obvious. Missouri’s conservative legislature, if unchecked, will produce results similar to those performing most poorly in the three major categories. Our young will be disadvantaged by lower graduation rates, inadequate preschool and poorer performance in basic skills. The median and per capita income will decrease among our workers. Poverty among Missouri’s workers will increase. Finally, life expectancy, infant mortality, senior health, available primary care physicians and number insured will deteriorate. Child death rates, teen death rates and obesity/diabetes will swell.

Governing philosophy matters.

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