As a national debate rages over healthcare, it can be hard to figure out its real-world effectiveness in your own area.
What’s not discussed in 10-second soundbites is your likely healthcare outcome. This lesser-known metric is probably the most important one, because it indicates whether or not you will be healthy after seeing a doctor.
The other point that’s often lost in the noise is that healthcare experiences vary widely depending on what state you’re living in.
To crack through the noise and establish an accurate base of knowledge for each state’s healthcare status, WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on price and access as well as outcomes. Then, everyone was ranked from 1 to 51 based on an equally weighted points system.
Of the outcome category’s 33.33 possible points, life expectancy had a double weight (4.44 points possible), while 2.22 possible points were doled out for outcomes such as heart disease, incidents of cancer, and readmissions. Cost and access issues were weighted equally, including dental services.
The results were interesting. By adding all points, the best healthcare was found in Minnesota, though it did not top any of the categories — only ranking in the top 10.
Massachusetts – No. 1 for outcomes and No. 2 for access — scored the second-highest overall because its 35th ranking for cost was a little pricey.
Rhode Island has the third-best healthcare, with good numbers across the board, but the District of Columbia with the best cost (No. 1) and excellent access (No. 3) finished fourth overall despite its average (No. 26) outcomes.
Vermont took fifth because its solid cost (No. 5) and outcomes (No. 4) were brought down by fair access (No. 34). If you get sick in Vermont, you’ll be OK — if you can find a doctor.
Alaska finished dead last. While its outcomes (No. 31) and access (No. 26) were in the middle of the pack, the state’s cost was the highest across the entire survey.
North Carolina was second-to-last with a super-high cost and limited access (No. 50 for both categories), yet the Tar Heels have fairly average outcomes (No. 33) despite those obstacles.
Mississippi had the poorest outcomes but gained a couple points overall with average prices (No. 27) and access (No. 28). South Carolina was ranked 48 overall with bad scores across all categories, and Arkansas was 47 overall because of its poor outcomes, which at No. 50 was only better than Mississippi.