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August 07, 2017

Study: Pennsylvania’s health care is better than that of most U.S. states

As the battle over health care policy wages on, a recent study from WalletHub looked at health care on a state-by-state basis to determine which states offer the best services at the best prices.

Hawaii claimed the top spot in the study with a composite score of 67.36 out of 100, averaging out as the best state when it comes to health care cost, access and outcomes. Hawaii also happens to have the lowest rate of heart disease in the U.S., the study found.

Pennsylvania, while better than the majority of the country, ranked at No. 18 with a score of 59.93. When it comes to access, though, Pennsylvania landed in the top 10 as the eighth-best state for health care access (the top slot for access went to Maine, followed by Connecticut).

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania was on the unsavory end of some of the study’s rankings as well, with one of the highest cancer rates in the country (outranked only by Kentucky, Louisiana and nearby Delaware) and falling on the worst half of health care “outcomes” at No. 31.

Pennsylvania’s health care ranked significantly better than New Jersey’s, which came in at No. 24 and ranked No. 39 in the health care access category.

Atul Gupta, an assistant professor of health care management at Wharton, contributed to the report and spoke about the Affordable Care Act’s future, particularly in relation to pricing changes.

“The law promised subsidies to insurers to ensure they participate and premium subsidies to individuals to avoid/delay a death spiral,” Gupta said.

“However, the individuals that did enroll on the exchanges turned out to be sicker (and costlier) than expected, even after the subsidies. This is a structural problem with ACA that needs to be resolved.”

Considering the current turmoil over health care reform, however, Gupta said the future of the ACA – or any future U.S. health care system – is hard to see clearly.

“The Senate reform plans are pretty fluid, and it is not clear what exactly is in the mix on any given day,” he said. 

He is able, however, to break down the Senate’s plan into three tenants: pricing restrictions on ACA exchanges, cutting the federal share of Medicaid and eliminating the employer/individual mandate to purchase insurance.

To view the full study and see what other experts have to say, visit WalletHub here.

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