Well, pass me a mug of Green Mountain coffee and let's share a pint of Cherry Garcia for breakfast - with maple syrup! Vermont is the nation's healthiest state according to America's Health Rankings.
That's kind of like being the prettiest girl at the ugly contest. Overall, the report says that America is an unhealthy nation. We're fat. We smoke. We lag behind 27 other industrialized nations in life expectancy. We're behind 21 industrialized nations in infant mortality.
The study did point out that Vermont has one worry. You see, Vermont has a "low immunization rate for children ages 19 to 35 months." Give them another pint of Chunky Monkey for that one.
We pay more for healthcare than any other nation. Yet tens of millions of Americans are uninsured. Companies are staggering under healthcare costs for employees and retirees. Many smaller companies can't afford to offer healthcare at all. Find me a doctor or a patient who is satisfied with the state of our healthcare insurance system.
We in the autism world know the vagaries of health insurance all too well. How much time and energy do you spend trying to get reimbursements for your child's therapies and medical treatment? Is "Out of Pocket" a filthy phrase in your household?
Then there's a problem of portability, because healthcare is connected to your job. In this economy, many people are losing their livelihood. Like my husband, who lost his job last month (pass me a gallon of Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream please.) I'm sure there are many A of A readers in a similar leaky boat. COBRA will cost us $1500 a month. That whole not having a job thing makes a COBRA payment (which costs far more than my parent's mortgage payment ever did) next to impossible.
We looked into private health insurance - just a catastrophic plan to tide us over. Unlike group insurance, individual insurance is underwritten. Golden Rule insurance wouldn't accept our girls because they have an autism diagnosis. Ah the irony! Do you think they pay out for any autism related treatment? Aetna would charge a 90% surcharge if they accepted the girls at all after reviewing their medical records. Which brought us right back to $1500 a month.
I'll bet the hearty Yankees in Vermont don't run to the doctor for every sniffle and sneeze. Maybe they follow the "apple a day" rule. Whatever they're doing (or not doing in the case of immunization rates) it seems to be working.
Read more and watch Matt Lauer and that doctor from NBC discuss the rankings HERE.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.