The Commonwealth fund has put together a scorecard (found here) on how well the health system of a given state functions for its most vulnerable citizens.  Described as “opportunities,” the study documents great differences in states regarding health and care delivery for the richest and the poorest of their citizens. From the study:

Between leading and lagging states, up to a fourfold disparity in performance exists on a range of key health care indicators for low-income populations. There are also wide differences within states by income. If all states could reach the benchmarks set by leading states, an estimated 86,000 fewer people would die prematurely and tens of millions more adults and children would receive timely preventive care. Moreover, many benchmarks for low-income populations in the top states were better than average and better than those for higher-income or more-educated individuals in the lagging states.

So, I peeked to see how Alabama fares? The answer is… not very well.

  • Access and Affordability 39th (4th quartile)
  • Prevention and Treatment 44th (4th quartile)
  • Potentially Avoidable Hospital Use 42nd (4th quartile)
  • Healthy lives 49th (4th quartile)
  • Overall rank 48th

Or, put another way, of the 34 discreet markers looked at we had 0 in the top 5, 1 in the top quartile, 4 in the 2nd quartile, 6 in the 3rd quartile, 16 in the bottom quartile, and 7 in the bottom 5.

Oh, good. Lots of opportunities!