Best & Worst States for Children's Health Care

Julie Ryan Evans

bandaidsIn a perfect world, children's health care would be top quality across the board, and no child would ever have to endure inferior care or no care at all. Unfortunately, in the real world, children's health care varies widely, and where one lives can really affect his or her health. The Commonwealth Fund recently released a state scorecard that shows which states fare the best ... and worst.

They looked at 20 key health system indicators to determine things like access and affordability, prevention and treatment, and potential to lead healthy lives. While they said some states clearly outperformed others, there is room for improvement in all states.

So how did your state fare?

The top states include: Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Minnesota, Connecticut, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Washington.

Those states in need of the most improvement include: California, Nevada, Mississippi, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

Overall, the report found much need for improvement.

“While children were able to gain and keep their health insurance thanks to Medicaid and CHIP, parents lost coverage as the job market deteriorated and cost of health insurance rose to unaffordable levels,” said Cathy Schooner, the Commonwealth Fund’s senior vice president and coauthor of the report. “The study demonstrates how policies designed to maintain children’s health insurance and access to health care have helped children get the health care they need, especially in tough economic times. Yet, because so many parents are uninsured, children and their families will remain at high risk until 2014, when access to health insurance will be expanded to include nearly everyone in the U.S.”

Researchers say the worst states should learn from the best states, and if they could perform as well as they do:

  • 5.6 million additional children would have health insurance;
  • 10.2 million more children would receive routine preventive medical and dental check-ups;
  • Nearly 600,000 more children would be up-to-date on their vaccinations; and
  • 8.8 million more children would have a medical home.

Time to start learning, people.

What improvements do you think need to happen in your state regarding children's health care?

Image via glassblower/Flickr

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