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March 2, 2018

The best—and worst—states for health care, according to US News

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    Hawaii is "the best state for health care," according to rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

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    U.S. News this week ranked the 50 states by how well they serve their citizens in eight categories, including health care, education, and infrastructure.

    For health care, the publication ranked states based on three broad benchmarks:

    • Access to care, which was calculated using six metrics, including health insurance enrollment, adult and child wellness visits, and health care affordability (33%); 
    • Health care quality, which was calculated using four metrics, including Medicare quality, nursing home quality, and hospital readmissions (33%); and
    • Public health, which was calculated using six metrics, including mortality, smoking, and obesity rates (33%).

    The highest-, lowest-ranked states for health care

    Based on those criteria, U.S. News determined the 10 best states for health care were:  

    1. Hawaii;
    2. Washington;
    3. Iowa;
    4. Connecticut;
    5. Massachusetts;
    6. Vermont;
    7. Minnesota;
    8. Rhode Island;
    9. Colorado; and
    10. Utah.

    There were significant variations among the three areas of evaluation for some top-ranked states. For instance, Connecticut ranked fourth in health care overall, but 20th in health care quality. Meanwhile, Colorado ranked ninth in health care overall, but 26th in health care access.

    According to U.S. News, the 10 states with the lowest overall score for health care were:

    50. Mississippi;
    49. Arkansas;
    48. Oklahoma;
    47. Louisiana;
    46. Alabama;
    45. Kentucky;
    44. West Virginia;
    43. Tennessee;
    42. Georgia; and
    41. South Carolina.

    According to U.S. News, some states with lower overall health care rankings performed strong in individual areas. For instance, West Virginia ranked 44th overall in health care, but 12th in health care access (Monda, "Today," NBC, 2/27; U.S. News & World Report rankings, 2/27; U.S. News & World Report rankings methodology, 2/27).

    Just updated: Cheat sheets on how hospital quality ratings programs work

    Download our one page sheets for summaries on the methodology and metric categories used in five hospital quality rating programs:

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