The Best States For Health Care

A new report has been published that ranks the quality of health care for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It’s not looking too swell for people who live in the South.

One of the most disturbing findings from the report is that “in 1999-00, there were only two states with 23 percent or more of adults uninsured. But by 2007-2008 there were nine.”

Vermont took first place, and was praised for its extensive preventative health care program:

The Green Mountain state was cited for its model “Blue Print” program. Launched by Republican Gov. Jim Douglas, it covers everything from teaching children healthy eating to helping seniors stay in their homes rather than going to costly nursing homes.

“You betcha, I feel good about the reforms we put in place,” Douglas told ABCNews.com. “It’s centered on quality and containing costs. Care shouldn’t start in the emergency room.”

All Vermonters are encouraged to have yearly exams and adults are notified when they are due for check-ups.

Compare Vermont’s outreach with Mississippi’s stringent “face-to-face” eligibility requirements for Medicaid benefits, which is partly what put it in 51st place:

Despite one of the highest matches of federal to state dollars in Medicaid funding, the state mandates “face-to-face” eligibility, requiring all new applicants and those reapplying for benefits to come in for an interview.

“As a direct result, 65,000 children have fallen off the rolls,” [Mississippi Health Advocacy Program director Roy Mitchell] said.

“Mississippi does virtually no outreach at all. They don’t publish where these face to face stations are and what times,” he said. “It’s a bureaucratic maze even to find out where to go. And when they get there they don’t have a certain document.”

Of those, about 77 percent would be eligible, he said. “It’s touted as fraud prevention.”

Whatever, we’re moving to Hawaii. It was ranked #2, and it’s got volcanoes!

You can look at an interactive map of the state rankings here.

“Vermont, Hawaii Top Health Care Scorecard” [ABC News]
“State Scorecard 2009″ [Commonwealth Fund]