It should come as no surprise to the educated reader that Louisiana generally fares poorly in national rankings of just about anything– but its still not fun to be reminded by the release of another national study. This time it is the 2015 State and Community Well-Being Rankings report produced by a collaboration between Gallup, Healthways and Health eVillages.
The Well-Beings Index was based on more than 2.3 million surveys that asked people how they feel and experience their daily lives. Well-being, according to the report, correlates with healthcare utilization and cost as well as productivity, which is measured by absenteeism and job performance.
Louisiana was ranked number 42; Hawaii was ranked number 1 and West Virginia number 50. Naples-Marco Island (Florida) ranked number 1 and Charleston West Virginia was last at number 190. Shreveport-Bossier ranked number 140 out of 190. Lafayette was number 78, New Orleans-Metaire number 143, and Baton Rouge number 170.
Questions asked concerning basic access to care included how many times in last 12 months did you not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed and have there been times when you did not have enough money to pay for health care and/or medicine? Additional questions included do you have health insurance, is it easy or not easy to get medicine where you live , do you have a personal doctor and have you visited a dentist in the last 12 months?
Former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal’s refusal to authorize the expansion of Medicaid aka Obamacare in Louisiana attributed to the unavailability of health care to Louisiana residents and thus had a factor in the low ratings of the state—as well as the cities rated (Lafayette, Shreveport, New Orleans-Metaire, and Baton Rouge.) However, any uptick in availability of health care in 2016 may very well be offset by the state’s sagging economy, which will mean less money for a large and growing number of Louisiana residents.
All in all the State and Community Well-Being Index is just another ranking, and its criteria are not a one size fit all; nonetheless it is a study that reflects the status of our state. No doubt it will be reviewed by national companies that may be considering relocation to Louisiana; hopefully 2016 will show an upward trend when the report is issued next year.