Children in states with higher rates of insured children are more likely to receive higher-quality health care, according to a Commonwealth Fund study released Wednesday, McClatchy/Kansas City Star reports.
Researchers used data on 13 health care indicators to rank all 50 states and Washington, D.C., in five subcategories: health care access, quality, cost, equity and health outcomes. The study, titled "U.S Variations in Child Health System Performance: A State Scorecard," found that expanded insurance coverage through programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP is "critical" for improving quality of care for children in every state.
According to the study, 4.7 million additional U.S. children would have health insurance and 11.8 million more would receive recommended yearly checkups if all states achieved the coverage rates of the highest-ranking states (Wong, McClatchy/Kansas City Star, 5/27). In addition, nearly 800,000 additional children would be current on their vaccinations (Appleby, USA Today, 5/27). U.S. Census Bureau data show that 8.7 million U.S. children were uninsured in 2006 (McClatchy/Kansas City Star, 5/27).
According to the study, Iowa and Vermont ranked first and second, respectively, overall, while Florida and Oklahoma were 50th and 51st, respectively. However, according to Commonwealth Fund vice president for child development and preventive care Edward Schor, no state ranked high in all measures (Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/27). The report also found:
- States with higher rates of insurance were more likely to have higher health care costs per child;
- The percentage of children receiving five annual vaccinations between 19 months and 35 months of age was highest in Massachusetts, which had a 94% vaccination rate, and lowest in Nevada, which had a 67% vaccination rate; and
- Michigan had the lowest rate of childhood uninsurance with 5%, while Texas had the highest with 20% (USA Today, 5/28).
The study is available online