How Low-Income Americans Experience Health Care: Ranking the States

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<p>The first-ever health system performance scorecard focusing on low-income Americans has one overriding message: where you live matters.</p><p>The new Commonwealth Fund report <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2013/sep/health-care-two-americas-findings-scorecard-state-health-system">Health Care in the Two Americas</a>, along with the accompanying <a href="">interactive map,</a> provides the first state-by-state comparison of the health care experiences of the 39 percent of Americans earning less than twice the federal poverty level ($47,000 a year for a family of four or $23,000 for an individual). It finds that access to affordable health care and quality of care vary greatly depending on the state. In comparing the care experiences of low-income populations with higher-income groups, the report also finds striking income-related differences within each state. </p>
<p>The researchers used 30 indicators of access to affordable health care, preventive care and quality, potentially avoidable hospital use, and health outcomes to rank the states. To establish benchmarks for performance, they also compared the experiences of low-income populations in each state to those of higher-income groups. Often, higher-income people living in low-ranked states were found to be worse off than low-income people in states at the top of the scorecard rankings. </p>
<p>Read <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2013/sep/health-care-two-americas-findings-scorecard-state-health-system">the report</a> and visit our <a href="">U.S. Health System Data Center</a> to find out where your state ranks, and to see the gains in health and well-being that are possible when states take steps to close the geographic and income divide. Also watch our interactive explainer, <a href="/publications/publication/2013/sep/tale-two-states-health-care-income-divide-visualized">A Tale of Two States: The Health Care Income Divide Visualized.</a></p>