Better late than never
by Rep. Hubert Collins
They say there is some comfort in finally hitting bottom. At least there is nowhere else to go but up.
That seems some pretty cold comfort, indeed, after learning three weeks ago that Floyd County ranked dead last among all counties in the state in the annual County Health Rankings compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Dead last, mind you, in a state that itself typically ranks near the bottom of the nation.
That’s about as low as one county can sink.
However, in the days following our March 21 story about Floyd County’s lowly health status, we have noticed something remarkable — People are talking about it. What’s more, they are concerned about it. They want to do something about it.
After a decade of writing news stories and editorials warning that the health of our people was growing dire, it now seems folks are finally starting to get it.
This is bad, about as bad as it gets. For all gloom and doom one might read about in the news, from crime to poverty to whatever, there is really nothing short of war and genocide that rank worse than a wholesale decline of health of an entire people. This is not about people feeling bad. It is about people dying years, sometimes decades, before they should.
We thought the story we wrote last year about how life expectancy in Floyd County is actually going down, instead of up, as it does in the rest of the country and world, might have raised the alarm. Maybe it did, in some quarters, but not to the extent the health rankings have.
Now, we seemingly cannot go a day without hearing the rankings as justification for taking some new form of action to combat the health crisis we face.
This is good. Not ideal, but good. We should have been concerned a decade ago. We should have been looking for answers long before now. But we will take what we can get.
Let us hope that this new level of concern leads to a new level of action and produces a new level of results.
— The Floyd County Times
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