The Cost Of Infant Mortality

 In Fishkind Commentaries

All this week, we’re looking at the state of prenatal care in Florida. In some counties, women lacking private health insurance have little or no access to a doctor. And that got our economic analyst Hank Fishkind thinking. He sat down with 90.7’s Catherine Welch to talk about the correlation between Florida’s infant mortality rate and the state’s healthcare system.

On how the U.S. ranks on infant mortality:

“We have some of the highest rates of infant mortality among developed countries. … So there’s an issue.”

On the economic factors affecting infant mortality:

“Florida has an economy dominated by tourism, retirement and agriculture. And as a result, it gives rise to very large volumes of job creation, which we like, but at very low wage rates. So the result is we have a very large pool of people who can’t afford health care.”

On what infant mortality tells us about Florida’s health care system:

“It tells us our delivery system is really breaking down because the indicator of infant mortality is very high. … We have two counties in Florida that have infant mortality rates above 15 (deaths per 1,000 births). Now, to put that in perspective, that’s higher infant mortality rates than in El Salvador, Mexico, Turkey or Jamaica. So there’s obviously a break down in the health care delivery systems that would give rise to these very elevated rates on infant mortality in parts of our state.”

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