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This week's release of the 2010 U.S. Census produced gloating from conservatives ecstatic about new Congressional seats in Republican, low-tax states.  But as even as they celebrate their added political clout, GOP cheerleaders remain predictably silent about another recent study.  The UnitedHealth Foundation's "America's Health Rankings" became just the latest analysis to show that health care is worst in precisely those states where Republicans poll best.

The findings from the UnitedHealth Group project revealed that Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Hawaii topped the overall health rankings.  (It should be noted that Hawaii has offered a near-universal health care system for years while the insurance mandate in Massachusetts has helped reduce the ranks of the uninsured to only 3%.)  Eight of the top 10 and 12 of the top 15 states voted for Barack Obama in 2008.  In contrast, the McCain/Palin ticket swept nine of the 10 worst performers, most of which are in the Republicans' solid south.

(Click image or here  to see details.)

Following up on its 2009 study which similarly revealed that blue states have the healthiest residents, AMR concluded:

The nation's overall health improved one percentage point last year, but reductions in smoking, preventable hospitalizations and infectious disease were offset by continued increases in obesity, children in poverty, and lack of health insurance.

In June, the Commonwealth Fund reported that the U.S. health care system badly lags its global competitors.  And like America's Health Rankings, the Commonwealth Fund found that health care is worst in those reddest of red states, especially in the South.

In the fall of last year, the Commonwealth Fund released its 2009 state health care scorecard. There, too, Mississippi led the Republican south in providing dismal health care. Again, while nine of the top 10 performing states voted for Barack Obama in 2008, four of the bottom five (including Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana) and 14 of the last 20 backed John McCain. (That at least is an improvement from the 2007 data, in which all 10 cellar dwellers had voted for George W. Bush three years earlier.)

(Another recent report on women's health care by the National Women's Law Center discovered almost identical geographical disparities.)

As it turns out, these data are as ironic as they are tragic.  After all, the 20 attorneys general suing to stop the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama come primarily from the same Republican states whose residents are so badly in need of health care reform.  And, as the Washington Post explained in "A Red State Booster Shot" eighteen months ago, it would be blue state taxpayers footing the bill:

Health-care reform may be overdue in a country with 45 million uninsured and soaring medical costs, but it will also represent a substantial wealth transfer from the North and the East to the South and the West. The Northeast and the Midwest have much higher rates of coverage than the rest of the country, led by Massachusetts, where all but 3 percent of residents are insured. The disproportionate share of uninsured is in the South and the West, the result of employment patterns, weak unions and stingy state governments. Texas leads the way, with a quarter of its population uninsured; it would be at the top even without its many illegal immigrants.

As it turns out, health care reform spending will be little different from the overall pattern of red state socialism. That is, red state residents disproportionately benefit from the steady one-way flow of tax dollars and earmarks spreading the wealth from Washington to their states.

And that, like their states' dismal health care performance, is nothing for Republicans to crow about.

** Crossposted at Perrspectives **

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 10:17 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I notice that MA is 2nd (8+ / 0-)

    Looks like RomneyCare works, to an extent.  

    While Vermont's is #1, and such a system would be best for the whole country, #2 is not bad, either.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 10:19:27 AM PST

    •  And New Hampshire is third (0+ / 0-)

      So New Hampshire #3 (with barely any regulations) behind MA #2 (Like the feds but different) and Vermont #1 (nearly universal) basically allows anyone to say that whatever approach you use it doesn't matter. It has to do with lifestyle of the people, race, money and ethnic and cultural factors. Violent crime was one of the stats, along with environmental quality, education, and vaccinations. These all work together in complicated ways to give you the final number. Nevada seems strangely low due to crime (thank you gambling). Unfortunately trying to put this out there will just give us conservatives saying things like..."well It's because crime is bad in Texas (read: because of Poor immigrants/blacks/Native People)" or that it is because Air quality is bad in California due to Mother Nature or Jerry Brown or whatnot. To me the general trend is clear but there is too much in those stats to make it a great support for Universal Healthcare.  However, i am a proponent. Just playing devils advocate here.

  •  This may be a grim thing to say, but... (3+ / 0-)

    Is it conceivable that, long-term, the healthcare debate may take care of itself?

    That is, if the people in progressive states with single payer or otherwise sensible healthcare systems become healthier and healthier, while those in wingnutland become less and less healthy...shouldn't this result in, long term, them dying off at a quicker pace?

    I know that sounds terrible, but stats don't care about decorum.

    •  But like cattle (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FlamingoGrrl, millwood

      they will also continue to reproduce to fill the gap.

      (Oooo bad liberal, bad! Go to your corner)

      "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout"

      by not4morewars on Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 10:32:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How I Prefer to Look at It (7+ / 0-)

      In a nutshell, our health care system will fail for America if it fails large numbers of Americans, regardless of where they live.

      As I wrote in "Red State Socialism":

      None of which is to suggest that there is anything untoward or inappropriate in the underwriting of red states by blue ones. On the contrary. After all, many of these Republican states are home both to key defense contractors and military bases which help ensure U.S. national security. Just as important, Americans nationwide want to provide the funding and resources for the education, health care and anti-poverty programs their red state brethren badly need - and deserve.

      Compassion - and good health care - shouldn't end at the state line.

    •  Add to that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the fact that blue states are pushing for single payer systems at the state level and you will not only likely see dramatically better health outcomes but at a cheaper price.  

      The result is these states will eventually see businesses come into the states and population shifts as jobs are available and people relocate to not only work those jobs but live in states with better healthcare.

      Much like in everything else GOoPers can't see beyond their diamond encrusted spectacles on their noses while Democrats are looking more long term.

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 10:56:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They won't see it that way. (0+ / 0-)

        In the south the Racial Rift will develop. It is always the same- the middle class and wealthy will blame the poor for not taking care of themselves; engaging in criminal behavior, or gambling/smoking away their money instead of vaccinating their children. They will say that Vermont and New Hampshire do well because they are lilly white utopias, not because of progressive policies. We need a state to actually try these measures that southerners can intellectually compare themselves to, otherwise they will come up with rationalizations on why the problem is in their state and not in Mass.

  •  "Republicans Leaders screw Republican voters" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Gemina13, amk for obama, SoCalSal, MartyM

    Should be one of our mantras.  It's an opportunity to divide and conquer, not to mention help a lot of people.

    Never attack a movement's members, always attack its leaders.


    Cognitive dissonance (the academic theory, not the common usage) suggests that attacking the supporters may actually increase their level of commitment.

    This is what happed immediately after W stole the 200o election. Many of us, myself, included, basically said to his followers "F*ck you!  We'll win the next one", which caused them to circle the wagons, even as W was starting to screw many of his supporters.  Instead we should have pointed out said screwing

    It works like this: Say someone has two contradictory  ideas: "I smoke" and "Smoking is bad for me".  This causes discomfort, which must be resolved.  Unfortunately, it is usually resolved in an ego- protecting way, so you wind up with something like: "Smoking isn't bad for me" instead of "I'm stupid to be smoking and should quit".

    If we make fun of a Tea Party  supporters, they hold the following ideas": I like my candidate's ideas" and "All these people say the ideas are crazy".  Well, no matter what the evidence for the lunacy, that's likely to resolve into "the ideas are right" instead of "I made a mistake".  This is particularly true if they see criticisms as hostile.

    On the other hand, if a supporter holds the following ideas "I like this candidate" and "this candidate just said that s/he is going to screw me personally ", the supporter is more likely to question the candidate.

    For a great exploration of cognitive dissonance, see Tavris and Aronson's Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts.

    Opportunities to split the opposition abound this year. Going back to the Commitment and Consistency principle, we need to keep hammering the Republicans on the debt at every opportunity.  Similarly, whenever a Republican comes out against a provision of Health Care Reform that they are on record as previously supporting (see Mitt Romney and Orrin Hatch, among others), we need to show this.

    In addition, we must publicize every split in the Republican party currently underway, from the campaign to chair the RNC, the related battle between Rove and Palin/DeMint to control the party, and whatever divisions come up in the presidential champaign.

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 10:35:01 AM PST

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