States With High Black Populations Ranked Last For Healthcare
For residents of the South, the quality of healthcare is vastly different from that in other states. In a recent study by WalletHub of healthcare conditions across the U.S., southern states with high populations of Black people held the majority of spots at the bottom of the ranking.
The comprehensive list utilized experts to quantify scores of healthcare analysis based on coverage, accessibility, and outcomes. While southern states typically have lower living costs, those savings are not proportionate to the level and quality of care they receive for health issues. As healthcare is a consistently prevalent concern among voters, the statistics are staggering, especially for people of color.
Southern states are population hubs for Black people, and Georgia has the second-highest Black demographic in the country, the most out of the South specifically. The Peach State, ranked No. 44 on the list, was in the bottom eight for states with the worst healthcare. Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North and South Carolina were also in the bottom 10.
What makes southern states prone to a low health score rating has primarily to do with access to facilities and primary care providers. Medical personnel retention is a distinct problem, as southern states are among the lowest in physicians per capita.
Alabama was the lowest-ranked state regarding medical care access. The metrics for that ranking included a holistic analysis of hospital beds and medical employees per capita, average response time, and quality of the public hospital system.
Insurance, beyond premium costs, is also a concern, and Georgia was ranked No. 48 for its percentage of insured adults. Gaps in healthcare coverage stem from conservative sentiments, especially among its more rural population, and its costliness. According to estimates by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, yearly averages for healthcare expenses are close to $13,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that Black men and women average less than $975 and $877 in weekly earnings, making the additional costs of healthcare virtually unaffordable to them.
These findings highlight how vulnerable Black populations are in the South regarding healthcare accessibility and quality. The health and wellness of Black residents is a growing factor when determining the safest place to live, and the South’s viability, according to these standards, is only worsening.