KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Annual Survey Ranks States On Health, Health Care

An annual survey ranks state's overall health and gives snap shots of specific measures including crime, air pollution and smoking rates.

The Seattle Times: "Washington state ranks No. 11 in the country in overall health, according to a yearly survey that takes into account broad measures of health, including smoking, crime, air pollution and spending on public health." America's Health Rankings, a survey that takes "a broad look at states' health," is produced by the American Public Health Association, Partnership for Prevention and the American Public Health Association and is now in its 21st year. The survey said too many pregnant women in Washington don't get early prenatal care, immunization rates are lower than in other states and "the percentage of children in poverty increased from 13 percent to 18%." Obesity rates in Washington also increased from 18% to 27% over the past 20 years (Ostrom, 12/7).

The Associated Press/The Boston Globe: "The 2010 American's Health Rankings released Tuesday put Massachusetts in second place" behind Vermont in its lineup of healthiest states in the country. New Hampshire was ranked as third healthiest, while Mississippi came in last. The rankings "noted Vermont's strengths as its high school graduation rate, low rate of uninsured people and ready access to early prenatal care. … Overall, the report says the country's health improved slightly in 2010 but improvements were offset by a rise in obesity, children in poverty, and lack of health insurance" (12/7).

The Huffington Post: "Colorado is the 13th healthiest state in the Union, according to a new study from the United Health Foundation, Partnership for Prevention and the American Public Health Association. … The state was hurt by a decrease the prevalence of immunization coverage for children ages 19 to 35 months from 92.1% in 2009 to 85% in 2010." The state was penalized in the study for its "high geographic disparity in health services within the state (12/7)."

The Baltimore Sun: "Maryland again got a middle-of-the-pack ranking among states for the health of its residents, according to a report issued Tuesday from health research and advocacy groups that looked at a host of government measures and private data. … The state's strengths were a low number of smokers and children in poverty and a ready supply of primary care physicians. But the high number of new cases of infectious disease, violent crime and infant mortality remained challenges, according to the report, in its 21st year." Baltimore officials have launched programs aimed at improving public health by reducing teen pregnancy and smoking while making healthy food available to residents (Cohn, 12/6).

Orlando Sentinel: "In a new health ranking, Florida ranks 37th in the country, down from 35th last year. … In the past year, the number of kids living in poverty in Florida jumped, and in the past decade, the obesity rate in Florida rose dramatically. On the other hand, violent crime declined in the past year and the number of Floridians who smoke continues to drop." The survey indicated that 21.2% of the state's population is uninsured, making Florida 48th in the country for rates of insured (Shrieves, 12/7).

Pioneer Press: "A new report on health care quality ...  shows that the rate of clinic patients getting optimal care for diabetes and vascular conditions was flat between 2008 and 2009" in Minnesota. "What's more, the rate of Minnesotans getting preventive care such as breast cancer screenings or childhood immunizations either decreased slightly or stayed flat, according to the study from MN Community Measurement, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit group." Job losses resulting from the recession have caused "disruptions in insurance coverage … which in turn has sapped demand for certain types of care," say medical manufacturers. And as a side effect, fewer people are getting the chronic and preventive care they need (Snowbeck, 12/7).

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