Health Care Disparities Among States Found to Be Widening

Commonwealth Fund Commission state report card emphasizes need for health care reform
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing health care costs and growing disparities in coverage among U.S. states point to the urgent need for national health care reform, according to an Oct. 8 state-by-state report card from the Commonwealth Fund Commission, a private foundation supporting research on the health care system.

The commission's "Aiming Higher: Results from the 2009 State Scorecard on Health System Performance" ranks states on 38 indicators for quality, access, prevention, avoidable hospital use and cost, healthy lives, and equity.

The report ranked Vermont, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine and New Hampshire as top performers, while Texas, Nevada, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi ranked the lowest. The study found that by 2007/2008 there were nine states with more than 23 percent of residents without health insurance, up from two states in 1999/2000. Just 11 states had less than 14 percent uninsured adults in 2007/2008, down from 22 states in 1999/2000. However, because of the advent of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), there were only three states with 16 percent or more of children uninsured, down from nine states in 1999/2000.

"The erosion of insurance coverage (with the notable exception of a few states) and the high uninsured rates in many states underscore the need for national reform and federal action to extend affordable insurance and ensure access for everyone," the report states.

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