New report ranks Iowa second nationally for health care

(The Center Square) – Iowa is the second-best state in the nation for health care, according to new research from MoneyGeek.

The personal finance technology company analyzed the data to form composite scores including health outcomes, cost and access.

Iowa ranks second nationally, with a score of 95.4, to leader Hawaii, whose score is 99.0. The other states that make up the top five are Colorado, Minnesota and Rhode Island.

Iowa has the second best access to care, after Rhode Island. Rhode Island’s rate of uninsured population is the second lowest in the nation, at 4.1%. Iowa has the seventh best cost and the 15th best result.

Access factors include number of hospital beds, number of primary care providers, primary care shortages, percentage of population with access to insurance versus just health insurance, and ease of access. access to care from doctors, clinics or specialists using Medicare.

Outcome factors included infant mortality rate, preventable death rate, diabetes death rate, obesity, smoking rate, life expectancy, suicide rates over 12, new HIV cases over 13 years, the rate of opioid-related hospitalizations.

The cost drivers were the share of health expenditure in state GDP, state government expenditure on health care and social assistance per capita, and average annual private health insurance premium costs.

The comprehensive weighted measures were preventable mortality rate, infant mortality rate, annual health insurance costs, and percentage of population with health insurance.

Measures of half-weight were life expectancy, diabetes mortality per capita, obesity as a percentage of the population, number of hospital beds per capita, and health expenditure, both as a percentage of the State GDP and as a percentage of GDP per capita.

Cyrena Gawuga of Rhode Island, director of research for the Coalition for Equity in Preparedness and Treatment, said states with poorer health outcomes and access can improve health care by attracting primary care providers from areas of the country that are overcrowded with providers.

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She said states should reduce barriers to health insurance for low-income people, improve social care, and invest in health equity initiatives that aim to reduce disparities in outcomes and access that disproportionately affect people of color.

“Most of the social determinants of health exist outside the influence of the health care system,” she said. “Without effective social services that address issues such as housing, food security and transportation, all efforts to improve health care are incomplete.”

Eight of the 10 worst states for health care are in the South and Southeast: West Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kentucky and Missouri. Alaska was third worst while New Mexico was seventh in the bottom 10 list. Arizona and Maine are tied for 10th worst in the nation.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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