Study: Massachusetts ties for #1 in child health

The ever reliable Commonwealth Fund — a national health policy group — has a new report out comparing state measure of children’s health. Massachusetts was ranked No.1, with an asterick.  

The 14 states in the top quartile of the overall performance ranking—Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Minnesota, Connecticut, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Washington—often perform well on multiple indicators and across dimensions (Exhibit 2). At the same time, the Scorecard finds that even the leading states have opportunities to improve: no state ranks in the top half of the performance distribution on all indicators. At the other end of the spectrum, states in the bottom quartile generally lag in multiple areas, with worse access to care, lower rates of recommended prevention and treatment, poorer health outcomes, and wide disparities related to income, race/ethnicity, and insurance status….

The State Scorecard on Child Health System Performance, 2011, examines states’ performance on 20 key indicators of children’s health care access, affordability of care, prevention and treatment, the potential to lead healthy lives, and health system equity. The analysis finds wide variation in performance across states. If all states achieved benchmark performance levels, 5 million more children would be insured, 10 million more would receive at least one medical and dental preventive care visit annually, and nearly 9 million more would have a medical home. The findings demonstrate that federal and state policy actions maintained and, in some cases, expanded children’s insurance coverage during the recent recession, even as many parents lost coverage. The report also highlights the need for initiatives specifically focused on improving health system performance for children. The report includes state-by-state insurance coverage projections for children once relevant provisions of the Affordable Health Act are implemented.

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