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Commonwealth Fund measures state health system equity Posted: February 10th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation focused on improving health-care practice and policy, has released its "State Scorecard of Child Health System Performance, 2011" survey.

The survey scored all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia on 20 indicators to determine how well states ensure children have access to health insurance and necessary health care. Upper Midwestern and New England states ranked highest while Southern states dominated the bottom, the survey said.

The study reviewed such factors as access and affordability, prevention and treatment, potential to lead healthy lives and health system equity to come up with rankings. No state ranked in the top ten for all 20 indicators.

The five highest-ranking states:

  1. Iowa
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Vermont
  4. Maine
  5. New Hampshire

Overall, Southern states dominated the bottom of the survey. Starting at the bottom, with Nevada ranking 51st overall, these five states were lowest:

  1. Nevada
  2. Mississippi
  3. Arizona
  4. Texas
  5. Florida

In terms of health insurance for children, Massachusetts had the lowest level of uninsured children with only 3 percent lacking medical coverage in 2009. Meanwhile, Nevada children were uninsured at a rate of 17 percent to 18 percent--the highest level in the nation.

The Commonwealth Fund concludes that if the poorest performing states could match the results of the highest performing states, 5.6 million additional children would have access to health insurance. In addition, 10.2 million more children would receive routine preventive care and 600,000 more would be up-to-date on their vaccinations.