In Deep South where GOP Rejected Obamacare, tens of 1000s die Unnecessarily every Year

(By Juan Cole)

The Center for Disease Control house found that 900,000 people a year
die of five leading causes every year in the US, and that 20% to 40% of these deaths are preventable (i.e. 180,000 to 360,000 needn’t die). The five are heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke and unintentional injury. Smoking cigarettes contributes to several of them.

What is striking is that the preventable diseases occur at a much higher rate in the Deep South than in the rest of the country, especially in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. notes that only 2% of Oregon’s heart attacks are considered to be “preventable” by the CDC, but 58 percent of Mississippi’s are.

Heart attacks nationally h/t Esri

One difference is health policy. Many states put high taxes on cigarettes, which discourages young people from taking up smoking. The deep South typically has much lower cigarette taxes.

The CDC says that prevention of these five causes of death requires: “risk factor reduction, screening, early intervention, and successful treatment of the disease or injury.”

In other words, health insurance and access to physicians are key to prevention. Low and behold, the states where the population most needs affordable health care insurance are the very ones where the Republican Party is dominant and where governors have rejected expansion of medicaid for Obamacare:


The Republican Party has many good people in it, and in some states it is pursuing better policies (Utah is fairly healthy, e.g.). But the Tea Party wing of the party is actually killing people by denying them access to affordable health insurance. We now have an idea of how many people its policies are killing.

In Alabama, it is roughly 9,000 people a year that are dying in part because of lack of screening, intervention and treatment, i.e. because they are uninsured. (There are 660,000 uninsured Alabamans). Low cigarette taxes and lack of investment in ensuring citizens get enough exercise are further contributors. If we posit that, in comparison to northern Democratic states, 2/3s of these preventable deaths are being caused by GOP policies, that is 6,000 people a year that the Tea Party is polishing off in Alabama. (It is no accident that when Michelle Obama began promoting more exercise among children, Fox Cable News and the Tea Party attacked her.)

That is, by its policies, the Tea Party is contributing to the death of more Americans every year than al-Qaeda is polishing off in Syria or Iraq.


The Young Turks: “Did This Mom Die Because Her State Refused To Expand Medicaid?”

6 Responses

  1. “What is striking is that the preventable diseases occur at a much higher rate in the Deep South than in the rest of the country, especially in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.”

    It may be “striking” but not surprising.

  2. The 1% who control the tea party tools want most of the poor to die, all except their gardeners, maids and waiters.

  3. When people in the Deep South can elect people like this – link to – no one should be surprised if they are self-destructive.

    Hopefully, Rick Perry will resurrect his campaign to have Texas secede from the Union and take the rest of the Deep South with him.

    • But then what happens to tens of millions of blacks, Asians & Latinos in the South who would be living under instant Apartheid? They will become a cause for the North, a threat to the South, and we all will be headed to civil war again, with weapons of unimaginable power.

      Minorities cannot accept ethnic cleansing as a solution. If Southern right-wingers try secession, people of color like myself must go to war immediately. We will defend the idea of the Union whether the rest of you are with us or not. We will also do everything in our power to spread the war into your homes. And if we win, we will not recreate a bourgeoise capitalist America that allowed our freedom to be crushed THREE times (black indentured servants in the early colonies lost rights when they were converted to slaves; then 1876, and now). Three strikes, someone should be out for good. This atrocity is happening because of the greed of Wall Street and the connivance of the rich nationwide, and another civil war will not stop at the Mason-Dixon Line.

    • Rick Perry came out in favor of in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. That was a BIG reason why the racist Republican party rejected him. Texas is not part of the deep south. Many of the cities have majority Mexican-American residents.

      El Paso–75%
      Corpus Christi–80%
      San Antonio–63%

      The Keynote Speaker at the 2012 Democratic convention was the Mayor of San Antonio, a Mexican-American like Alberto Gonzalez. Both are Texans.

      Southern Louisiana is Cajun country–Catholics, not Southern Baptists. Deep in the bayous, many of the people speak French, not English.

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