Washington state’s health care system ranked No. 28 in the nation

Washington state was ranked the No. 28 best state in the nation in terms of health care, according to a new study by WalletHub.

The personal finance website looked at 42 specific measures across three broad categories – cost, accessibility, and outcome – to determine the best and worst health care in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Finding good health care at the right price point should be a priority for all Americans during the current public health situation,” advised Wallet Hub. “However, even without any extra costs that might arise from the coronavirus pandemic, the average American spends more than $12,500 per year on personal health care, according to the most recent estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That’s a daunting statistic considering that many Americans have already been hurt financially by the impact of the pandemic.”

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez addressed the Evergreen State’s middle-of-the-pack ranking.

“Washington ranked 28th in terms of state-to-state healthcare,” she reiterated in an email to The Center Square.

The state did well in certain categories. However, the high cost of health care in Washington brought down its overall ranking.

“While it ranked 12th best in terms of health outcomes, like longer life expectancy and lower stroke and heart disease rates, it ranked 41st in terms of costs, meaning that everything from medical visits to insurance premiums are higher there,” Gonzalez explained.

A lack of hospital beds also impacted Washington’s ranking.

“It is notably ranked as having the 3rd fewest hospital beds per capita in the country,” Gonzalez noted, “almost 4x fewer than, say, Mississippi or Arkansas.”

Last month, leaders of the Seattle-based Washington State Hospital Association said a growing number of difficult-to-discharge patients are resulting in capacity problems – that is, too few beds for acute care.

According to its website, the association is asking state government to act now and during next year’s legislative to help move hospital patients ready for discharge into post-acute or long-term care facilities and to approve funding for said facilities.

Washington’s Pacific Northwest neighbors, Oregon and Idaho, fared slightly better in WalletHub’s rankings, coming in at No. 21 and No. 26, respectively.

The 10 states with the best health care systems:

1. Rhode Island

2. Massachusetts

3. Hawaii

4. Minnesota

5. Maryland

6. Vermont

7. Colorado

8. Connecticut

9. Maine

10. Iowa

The 10 states with the worst health care systems:

51. Mississippi

50. Alabama

49. Louisiana

48. Oklahoma

47. Arkansas

46. West Virginia

45. South Carolina

44. Texas

43. Georgia

42. Tennessee

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