Best Places to Get Sick in the U.S.

For most, we are heading into the end of winter. (Unless, that is, you are the poor unfortunate souls who live on the East Coast and were pounded with feet, not inches, of snow this past week.) As a lover of snow, I find the in between of winter and spring to be awful. The snow is patchy, revealing brown, muddy grass and it is still dang cold. It really is like all the bad parts of winter without thex gorgeous snow. (can you tell I love snow yet?) But the worst part is the perpetual cold that continues to linger and reinfect. The running noses, sneezing and headaches are enough to make me want to hide underneath my covers and wait until the first real signs of spring. And in my neck of the woods, that can be until May. Yes, May. Last year the day after we planted our garden it snowed.

You might be wondering what my bad weather blues has to do with heath insurance. Disease tends to spread around more in winter. Between all the parties, late nights and busy events, people get more and more sick. I blame on an over worked schedule and an under prepared diet, leading to a weakened immune system that is vulnerable to bacteria. Big parties and events packed with a lot of people is just like a Petri dish of germs. Ok, ok, I’m grossing myself out. But it’s true. Add the cold, which brings sniffles and nose blowing and you have the recipe for disease spreading. While the spread of germs can be avoided (say it with me now, “I will always wash my hands”), that is not always the case.

As someone who is recently overcoming a terrible cold, I have been recalculating my days trying to determine how I got sick, who infected me and so on. It might seem fruitless, but I want to put blame on anyone who caused my recent misery. Sound harsh? Well so was my cold. With sickness on the brain, I came across an article on about “The Best Place to Get Sick in the U.S.” The article is more focused on the kind of sick that lands you in the hospital, but I found it intriguing nonetheless.

The rankings were based on how many hospital beds there were, staffing levels, average cost, etc. The numbers did not include insurance spending which I think would significantly skew their numbers, but alas, it is their study not mine. I was sad to learn that my poor state ranked 34th, after the United States average. (No wonder I got sick….) But most interesting was South and North Dakota topped the ranks, well above big metropolitan states like New York and D.C. (And spendy California ranked second to last.)

So what do you think? Why do smaller states like the Dakotas out rank states like New York and Massachusetts that have a reputation for being medically innovative? I think it is mighty suspicious that my state is ranked so low and my cold keeps coming back.