States differ in health spending per capita

health spending

Robert Pear writes in the NY Times about a new federal study that shows that there is a significant range in health care spending per capita among the 50 states.

Massachusetts led the way in per capita health spending at $6,700, while Utah was less than $4,000 per capita. As he writes,

The study, published on Monday in the Web edition of the journal Health Affairs, said that Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Alaska and Connecticut had the highest per capita spending on health care in 2004.

The lowest-spending states were Utah, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico and Nevada. Per capita spending in Utah was 59 percent of that in Massachusetts. [ . . .]

Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, said, “The variations help explain why some states can achieve health care reform on their own, without a huge infusion of federal money, while others cannot.”

“In a low-spending state like New Mexico, you have less money in the health care system that can be recaptured and invested in coverage for the uninsured,” she said. “In a high-spending state like Massachusetts, the health care system has the resources to subsidize coverage of the uninsured.”

Read the full article . . .

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