According to a report by the Commonwealth Fund, U.S. residents' access to affordable, quality health care varies widely from state to state.
Researchers examined 30 health indicators such as the rate of insured and uninsured residents per state, the number of residents who visited an emergency department instead of a physician and how well a state's health system protected residents from dangerous medicines. They also compared states based on access and affordability, prevention and treatment, avoidable hospital use and health lifestyles.
States in the North and Northwest typically had strong health care systems, while the states in the South, Southeast and Southwest scored lower. Further, the report found that low-income adults in the highest-performing states are:
- More likely to be covered by health insurance;
- More likely to have a regular source of health care;
- More likely to receive recommendations for preventive care, such as cancer screenings; and
- Less likely to die prematurely or end up in the hospital for conditions such as diabetes and asthma.