KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Minn. Unseats Mass. As Top Place For Health Care

News outlets around the country reported on The Commonwealth Fund's score card, which graded states on 42 measures, including access to care, quality and costs. USA Today looked at the report's contention that states' decisions not to expand Medicaid risk widening the health care gap with states that have expanded coverage.

WBUR: Minn. Beats Mass. For Top Health Care Spot In United States
Massachusetts ranks second in the country on a health care score card out today from The Commonwealth Fund. The ranking is based on 42 measures, including access to care, preventive visits, quality of treatment, race and ethnic disparities and lifestyle issues such as smoking. Massachusetts is at or near the top on many measures, but the state received low scores for avoidable hospital use and costs in 2012. Commonwealth Fund president Dr. David Blumenthal says an abundant supply of hospital beds may be driving demand (Bebinger, 4/30).

Georgia Health News: Georgia Sinks In State-By-State Health Care Rankings
Georgia improved on several important health measures from 2007 to 2012, but its overall health care ranking among states fell from 35th to 45th in a newly released study. The Commonwealth Fund’s 2014 state health system scorecard, released Wednesday, found that all states saw meaningful improvement on at least seven of 34 indicators. Georgia improved on 13, including child vaccinations, hospital admissions for pediatric asthma, Medicare 30-day readmission rates, and infant mortality. But Georgia’s health statistics worsened in 12 areas, including its rates of uninsured adults; adults with a usual source of care; and adults without a dental visit in the past year (Miller, 4/30).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin's Health System Ranks In Top 10 In National Report
Wisconsin ranks seventh in the country in the overall performance of its health system and has made gains in reducing infant mortality and improving care for people covered by Medicare, according to a report released by the Commonwealth Fund. But the Scorecard on State Health System Performance, which tracks how states performed on 42 measures, also shows areas where Wisconsin has made no progress, such as the percentage of adults under 65 who have lost six or more teeth. "There is room for improvement in every state, said David Blumenthal, a physician and president of the Commonwealth Fund, an organization based in New York that supports health policy research (Boulton, 4/29).

Politico Pro: Report Finds Little Health Progress In States Pre-ACA
In the five years preceding the coverage expansion of the Affordable Care Act, most states did not improve health care access, quality, costs or outcomes, according to a report released Wednesday by the Commonwealth Fund. In some cases, states took several steps backward. The report found that between 2007 and 2012, most states made no progress or did worse on two-thirds of 34 indicators. In 10 states, scores declined on more indicators than improved. Disparities persisted based on geography, race and ethnicity and income (Villacorta, 4/30).

USA Today: No Medicaid Expansion Could Create Health Care Gaps
States that have not expanded their Medicaid programs as part of the Affordable Care Act risk larger-than-ever gaps in overall health between residents of their states and those that have expanded Medicaid, a report released Wednesday shows. Nine of the top 13 states in overall health have expanded Medicaid, while three in the lowest 12 have not expanded, according to the report by the Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit group studying U.S. health care (Kennedy, 4/30).

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