Fast Takes: News & Trend Lines, October 2013

October 1, 2013

Wide disparities in access and quality by state

Access to affordable health care and the quality of care provided vary greatly for low-income people ($47,000 a year for a family of four) based on the state in which they live, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. Geographic differences also extend to people with higher incomes, or $94,000 annually for a family of four. For example, higher-income people who live in states that lag far behind in their performance are often worse off than low-income people in top-performing states.

The report ranked states on 30 indicators covering such areas as preventive care and quality, potentially avoidable hospital use, health outcomes, and access to affordable care. There was often as much as a fourfold difference in performance on indicators between top- and lowest-ranking states. While every state had room for improvement, Hawaii and states in the Upper Midwest and Northeast performed the best. Southern and South Central states often lagged in performance. The 96-page report, “Health Care in the Two Americas,” including additional resources, is available here.

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