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Alabama, the Yellowhammer State, ranks 46th in the most recent America’s Health Rankings, placing it among the worse states with regard to health. The state ranked poorly in several categories: air pollution (34th); cancer deaths (43rd); cardiovascular deaths (49th); children living in poverty (41st); incidence of chlamydia (48th); diabetes (47th); immunizations among adolescents (35th); infant mortality (49th); infectious diseases (45th); lack of health insurance (31st); low birthweight (48th); obesity (46th); premature death (48th); preventable hospitalizations (45th); salmonella (43nd); smoking (40th); heart attack (47th); heart disease (45th); high blood pressure (49th); high cholesterol (50th); immunization for female HPV (36th); preterm birth (48th); stroke (49th); and, teen birth rate (41st).
Given these numbers, it’s clear that Alabama’s population was in poor health and health coverage was difficult for most residents to obtain. This may have been due in part to high unemployment for the state. As of March, 2010, Alabama’s unemployment was at 11 percent, and many families had been forced off their employer-based health insurance and found themselves unable to afford COBRA benefits. Unfortunately, that only accounted for a small portion of Alabama’s families. The reality was that many thousands of the state’s residents never had health insurance, and that continues to the be the case today.
Alabama has over 4.8 million residents. The average cost of an inpatient hospital stay before insurance is $1,486 per day based on 2014 data, according to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Arizona spent had health expenditures of more than $29.5 billion in 2009. Arizona has 72 hospitals. The state has 96 hospitals and 41 HMO groups with a total membership numbering well over 270,700 individuals.