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Who's killing Bubba?

The answer is Bubba is killing himself, in record numbers, according to new research.

A just published report from the New York-based Commonwealth Fund points to a situation where drugs and suicides are only a part of the problem.

A more chilling analysis is the possibility of a much larger trend where failures in the medical system and profound changes in the economy and lifestyles have major medical platform impacts.

Bubba is fighting hard to maintain a legacy and heritage of southern cooking and bubba-ism.

Bubba likes to start the day off with biscuits and gravy, eggs, home fries, bacon or sausage, or large ham steaks. Lunch is usually something involving processed meats or fried something.

This Southern lifestyle is now catching up with many young and middle aged men. Health experts are seeing a future where heart problems, obesity, and general lack of medical care is attacking a whole region of America.

An unexpectedly high mortality rate of drug deaths and suicide is redefining American standing among high developed nations. There is forming a new Death Corridor of several states stretching from Appalachia south and west across the Deep South.

The report finds that "Mortality rates were 60 percent to 76 percent higher than they would have been if the trends of the 1980s and 1990s had continued in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The urban Northeastern states are going in the opposite direction. The report found the gap between expected and actual mortality rates was smallest in New York, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Illinois."

Samuel Preston, one of America's foremost experts in this ongoing research, said,"That there clearly something going on that is troubling and it points to a serious national problem" Preston, is a University of Pennsylvania demographer. He headed a 2011 National Academy of Sciences panel that looked at life expectancy in high-income countries.

Nobel laureate Angus Deaton and Anne Case co-authored an important article in 2015 which offered research showing that since 1999, death rates had dramatically increased among non-Latino white Americans ages 45 to 54.

So far, the body of study has not found a similar problem among African-Americans and Latinos. Similar findings hold true for working-class populations of Western Europe or other industrialized nations.

Professor Case went on to state,"The question is: Is it social safety net? Are working-class people more protected in Europe? Is it universal health care?"

To explain the reversal in decades of progress among American whites, Deaton and Case pointed to a dramatic increase in deaths attributed to drug poisoning, suicide and alcohol-related liver disease, which killed twice as many working-age whites in 2014 as in 1999.

The increase in deaths among whites from drug abuse, alcohol and suicide was so large that it "bears a resemblance" to trends seen "during the height of the AIDS epidemic," Case and Deaton concluded in their paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Common medical themes rising within the Death Corridor states are trends that map new high rates for low levels of education, more poverty, increased smoking, and general obesity in Southern white males. To make matters worse, many people within these Southern states historically have had some of America's poorest health care systems. They are also the same people who can't afford good insurance.

Living in rural regions with small towns, Bubba and his family often must drive an hour to have access to quality health care. This geography of primary care reality can become a death sentence to Bubba.

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