Report: California Lags Behind Other States on Many Health Indicators
California ranks 31st among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for the overall quality of its health care system, according to a Commonwealth Fund report released Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reports.
For the study, investigators collected data from state health agencies and other sources on 38 health care indicators related to:
- Avoidable hospital use and costs;
- Healthy living; and
- Prevention and treatment.
The report ranked California 47th nationwide for the percentage of working-age adults without health insurance. Researchers found that 24.4% of California adults lack insurance coverage, compared with 23.7% in last year's study.
The study also ranked California 33rd in the nation for the percentage of adults who skipped physician visits because of financial concerns. Researchers found that 23.8% of California adults said they could not afford a doctor visit, compared with 22.7% last year.
If California raised its health care performance to the level of the highest-ranked state, the report predicted that:
- 3.9 million more adults would have insurance coverage;
- 1.8 million more children would have access to regular physicians; and
- The federal government would save nearly $182 million in Medicare payments to hospitals (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 10/8).
The report ranked Vermont first in the nation for health care system performance and ranked Mississippi last.
Researchers also identified significant disparities among states for various health care indicators. For example, the study found that 7.2% of Massachusetts residents lack health insurance, compared with 31.5% of Texas residents (Rubin, USA Today, 10/8).
The study found that all states made gains in extending health coverage to children, primarily as a result of the Children's Health Insurance Program.However, researchers note that the data do not reflect the impact of the recent economic downturn, which likely exacerbated health care problems nationwide (Zajac, Chicago Tribune, 10/8). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.