If the United States' health system was a high-school student, its latest report card would be mediocre, at best—but next quarter could see some real improvement if that "Obamacare" tutor works out, a new study suggests.
The Commonwealth Fund's "scorecard" of the nation's states released Wednesday shows that a majority of them either declined or failed to improve on nearly two dozen health indicators from 2007 to 2012—a period of time before the Affordable Care Act began to take full effect.
The group noted that during that time the overall rate of uninsured working-age adults grew to 21 percent from 19 percent nationally, and health care became less affordable, leading to a reduction in the number of people seeking needed care because of cost barriers.
And not only was the nation in a rut during those years when it came to improving the overall health system—which includes access to services, quality, costs and outcomes—but there were wide gaps in performance between individual states, the Commonwealth Research found in its report "Aiming Higher: Results from a State Scorecard on Health System Performance, 2014."
Top-performing states sometimes performed between two-to-eight-times better than the worst-performing states when it came to things such as the rate of elderly people receiving high-risk medication and the number of children hospitalized for asthma, the report found.