Kaiser Health News: Feb. 3, 2014
Georgia Regents Medical Center CEO David S. Hefner talks about the health disparities in Southwest Georgia in this article about the Affordable Care Act. This largely agrarian pocket of Georgia, where peanuts and pecans are major crops and hunters bag alligators up to 10 feet long, is nearly the most expensive place in the nation to buy health insurance through the new online marketplaces created by the federal health law.
But all the ingredients for heavy health care needs—both medical and socioeconomic—are common in the 12 counties of Southwest Georgia, which are being treated as a distinct region in the insurance market. One in four children live in poverty and one out of every three people here are obese. Babies are more likely than those in most parts of the country to have low birth weights, according to data compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
“If you look at the Georgia health indices for cancer, obesity, diabetes or pre-metabolic diseases, asthma, stroke, or heart disease, there are many counties that are worse than some Third World countries,” said Hefner. This article was also published by radio stations in Florida and Texas. Read about problems with the Affordable Care Act in Southwest Georgia.