How Good is Healthcare in Different U.S. States

Few factors bear as heavily on the well-being of any state’s citizens as their overall quality of health. In evaluating the Best States for health care, access to preventative medical and dental treatment for children and adults alike is a key consideration. Since adoption of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as “Obamacare,” the percentage of Americans without health insurance has reached a record low, falling below 10 percent. At the same time, the law’s mandate that everyone has coverage – either through employers or public health care programs – or pay a tax penalty has made the measure politically controversial since its inception. The Republican-run Congress and President Donald Trump have vowed to repeal Obamacare, posing a challenge of finding coverage for millions who have found insurance under the law.

Massachusetts stands out as the No. 1 Best State for health care, by all these measures – Hawaii No. 2. Among the other top-10 states for health care are some of the smallest, including New England neighbors New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island. The top states also include the biggest of all – California – as well as Midwestern Minnesota and Northwestern Washington state. More than half the top states for health care rank among the top-10 Best States overall.

Top 10 States for Health Care

Health Care Ranking State Health Care Access Health Care Quality Public Health
#1 Hawaii 2 3 1
#2 Massachusetts 1 15 5
#3 Minnesota 8 8 7
#4 New Hampshire 9 4 18
#5 Iowa 5 9 14
#6 Vermont 3 14 13
#7 Rhode Island 7 13 8
#8 New Jersey 17 20 2
#9 Washington 10 12 11
#10 California 24 16 3

The states were ranked on health care using three broad benchmarks: Access to care, quality of care and the overall health of the population. This includes concerning measures such as the percentage of adults without health insurance and the percentage who haven’t had a routine checkup in the past year – including those who went without medical attention because of the cost. It includes positive measures such as the percentage of children receiving medical and dental care under Medicaid. It includes measures of hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge, nursing home citations and numbers of seniors covered under high-quality Medicare Advantage plans. It involves general measures that correspond with good health – rates of smoking and obesity. And it takes into account infant and overall mortality rates.

With the easily navigable data of the Best States platform, see why Massachusetts and others have ranked so high. See where other states face ongoing challenges. Compare your own state with other states, and see what all might have to learn from one another. And pull some quick, clear charts to share with anyone interested in how some states stand out more than others.