“We don’t know what form health reform will take.” Quote from an Alabama hospital executive August, 2011

The Affordable Care Act offers an opportunity to provide improved health care to our citizens. Instead, we in Alabama sit in meetings discussing the latest TEA Party musings about the role charity should play in health care delivery and whether we should prepare for a President Bachmann health care approach.

It’s not like we are doing so well we should sit on our laurels. Look at the data. Our citizens can expect to die almost 3 years (on average) before those living in the rest of America. In the worst county, Winston, the number is 10 years.

Out of 100 babies born, 3 more (9 per 1000) will die in Alabama than on average in the rest of America (6 per 1000). If you are African American, your newborn is twice as likely to die (13 per 1000) than the average American. If you are unlucky enough to be born African American in Cherokee County Alabama, you have almost a 10% chance of  dying in the first 30 days.

In Alabama, you are more likely to die of diabetes than in the rest of America. In Marengo County, you are 3 times more likely to die of diabetes than in the rest of Alabama. There are 4.5 primary care doctors per 10,000 people in Marengo County (7 per 10,000 in the US), and of these 11 primary care doctors, 4 are over 65.

If I were in charge, we would be having a different discussion.