Rankings in shame


A new study shows that Ohio’s infant-mortality rate is 7.7 deaths per 1,000 live births — the 48th worst rate among states. Between 2000 and 2010, infant mortality in Ohio grew by 3 percent, while the national average decreased by 11 percent.

That statistic should embarrass and enrage every decent Ohioan, regardless of party. It is especially shameful given the General Assembly’s refusal to expand eligibility for Medicaid health-insurance coverage for poor Ohioans.

Instead, leaders of the Republican-controlled legislature say they want to “reform” Medicaid, potentially limiting eligibility further rather than expanding it. Broader coverage would mean “socialism” — participation in Obamacare.

So how do we label letting poor babies die? The babies we are talking about are, almost exclusively, the children of the very poor. You could call it Social Darwinism, or you could just call it colossal stupidity and man’s inhumanity to man.

Ohio ranks even lower — 49th — in mortality among African-American babies. We have the worst record on infant mortality in the Midwest and bring up the rear nationally. We are now comparable to Mississippi and the Third World.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently concluded, in its “Kids Count” report, that one in four Ohio children lives in poverty. Ohio ranks 24th among states on the annual report card on the well-being of children.

Dying babies? Malnourished children? This is not a record to be proud of. It is a record of malfeasance and neglect. It is not the Ohio we seek. And it must not be allowed to stand.

Tell your state lawmakers you want more health care for working-poor Ohioans, not less. Tell them you want to be proud of your state.