How do America’s Health Rankings Relate to How Patients Use Health System in Each State?

The 2016 Annual Report released today by America’s Health Rankings uses 34 unique measures to create a ranking of the healthiest overall states in the US. The report also provides insight into public health efforts by demonstrating how each state has progressed and declined over almost 30 years, compared to national performance. Findings suggest the health of the nation is at a crucial point; progress is being made against historically challenging public health issues, such as smoking, but we’re reversing that progress with negative indicators including high rates of obesity. 
For example, the 2016 America’s Health Rankings report shows obesity rates have increased significantly in Kansas, ranked 27th, this past year. The report details that obesity in the state increased 9% from 31.3% to 34.2% of adults. The PFCD survey reveals that 7 in 10 themselves or someone they know had difficulty using their health insurance in the past year. If patients are having trouble accessing the care they require, improving their health will prove extremely difficult. To solve these challenges, we must first understand them. On a state and national level, this data makes an informed case for the fight for health, against chronic disease.
Health care in the United States is at a critical juncture. While, the incoming Congress and administration are poised to reconsider health care reform, voters across the country continue to be frustrated with their health coverage and access to care, The rankings show that key indicators such as obesity are increasing and contributing to the first decline in life expectancy since 1993. These realities raise concerns about health status and the associated costs. A productive conversation about how to strengthen our health care system should begin with the facts about our physical health and patients’ experience with the health system. The latest America’s Health Rankings report and insights from a recent PFCD survey are extremely valuable resources as we discuss how to strengthen our health system. 
Click here for the full report. Then check out the PFCD survey to see how patients in your state view their health coverage.