Report ranks Oklahoma near bottom in health care

Oklahoma ranks among the bottom states for health care, according to a recent report that examined systems based on 42 metrics. Contributors to the report commented that the nation’s health care system as a whole faces serious challenges. (Photographic illustration by Natanael Melchor on Unsplash)

The expansion of the Oklahoma Medicaid program, set in motion by the passage of statewide Question 802 in 2020, has substantially reduced the number of people in the state without health insurance.

However, according to a recent examination of the data by the finance website WalletHub, Oklahoma still trails every other state in the country except Texas in comparisons of percentages of insured adults. WalletHub ranked Oklahoma behind 49 others and the District of Columbia, assigning the state a rank of 50 in its percentage of insured adults.

According to the finance site’s recently released report on the 2022 Best and Worst States for Health Care, Oklahoma ranked in the bottom half of states in several key categories tested. Data Registered State:

• 34th in average monthly insurance premiums paid by people with insurance.

• 43rd in number of physicians per capita practicing in the state.

• 27th in number of dentists per capita.

• 50th in percentage of insured adults.

• 47th in percentage of insured children.

• 44th in the percentage of adults without a recorded dental visit in the last year.

• 35th percentile of residents age 12 and older who are fully vaccinated.

To determine where Americans receive the highest quality services at the best prices, WalletHub said it compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 42 total metrics. The site found that the top five states for health care were Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Maryland.

The bottom five states were Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The data collections used to create the rankings were obtained from the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the US Census Bureau, and many other providers ranging from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the Kaiser Family Foundation and even the US Department of Agriculture and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Serious shortcomings observed at the national level

The report noted that according to CMS, the average American spends more than $12,500 per year on personal health care, and the pandemic has made life much more expensive for some.

Karoline Mortensen, a professor of health management and policy at the University of Miami, who contributed to the report, said the nation’s current high inflation will likely further exacerbate challenges for Americans. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its burdensome effects on health care resources, overall provider shortages and burnout, and other factors will also contribute to continued poor outcomes for people, especially in low-performing states, he said. she.

Another contributor to the report, James Kahn, a professor at the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco, noted that conditions can be difficult for people, even if they live in one of the best health states. watch out. Roughly 25% of American adults, he said, about 65 million people, currently have medical debt, and the nation records more than 500,000 bankruptcies each year related to medical debt.

“Health care in the US is tremendously expensive due to the high profits of private insurers, even when they are intermediaries in Medicare and Medicaid managed care plans, the high prices charged by pharmaceutical companies, the taking of profits by pharmaceutical benefit management companies, the high prices charged by large and powerful provider groups, and the administrative waste (over $600 billion per year) of our complex, fractured system,” Kahn said.

Sandra L. Bloom, another contributor to the report, an associate professor of health management and policy at Drexel University, agreed that health care is in poor shape not just in low-performing states but across the country.

“Sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, health care became dominated by a business model akin to a factory making gadgets,” he said. “The goal was clearly to make the most money for the least cost. It seems that little thought was given to the serious conflicts that would arise in an industry dedicated to care. The result has been a profound demoralization of the health care and social services workforce, moral principles in serious conflict leading to widespread but unspoken moral anguish; and incompatible service delivery models”.

Bloom said the cracks in the system have become more like chasms during the current pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, studies revealed that nearly 80% of registered nurses experience burnout; 64% of advanced practice registered nurses and 56% of clinical leaders also report feelings of burnout. The effects of burnout among nursing staff have been shown to result in increased patient mortality rates,” he said. “(And) things are no better in the mental health service delivery sector, where between a fifth and two-thirds of workers across multiple studies experience burnout.

“The problem is not the people,” Bloom insisted. “The problem is in the structures that have been created. As the National Academy of Sciences put it: “A growing body of research suggests that the changing landscape of the US health care system—how care is delivered, documented, and reimbursed—has had profound effects on clinical practice and , consequently, in the experiences of physicians, students, patients and their families’”.

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