Oregon ranks “healthy” in new report

A recent study conducted by MoneyRates.com assesses health care in all 50 states, and ranks the states accordingly. The study looks at states where finding and paying for health care is most difficult, both as a result of high costs of care and limited accessibility. 

The report uses the following metrics to rank each state: 

  • Health-insurance coverage – based on the percentage of each state’s population covered by health insurance
  • Longevity – based on state death rates adjusted for age differences in state populations
  • Child-vaccination coverage – based on the percentage of children in each state who have received comprehensive vaccinations
  • Infant survival – based on the childbirth mortality rates in each state
  • Nursing-home capacity – based on the percentage of nursing-home capacity currently available
  • Hospital capacity – based on the percentage of hospital beds available
  • Patient-care doctors – based on the number of patient-care doctors per capita

Oregon ranks 14th overall, and has a “healthy” ranking according to the report. The healthy ranking comes from one robust ranking, several healthy rankings, and only two average or critical rankings. 

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The state has robust nursing home capacity, suggesting that elderly care, and access to this type of care, is readily accessible both in terms of cost and availability. During the 2018 legislative session, Oregon lawmakers worked to buyback nursing home beds that were not being utilized in order to increase occupancy in other skilled nursing facilities. Years ago, at the start of the program, the state ranked twenty points below the national average in nursing home care. This new ranking demonstrates improvement within the sector.  

Longevity, infant survival, and patient care doctors all received a healthy ranking in the report. These rankings play a direct role in the overall health ranking of the state. 

Recent studies in Oregon have demonstrated that the longevity in the state is dependent on a number of socio-economic factors, most notably geographic location. In Portland the life expectancy rate is higher than in urban areas. This would directly impact the longevity in the state. 

Despite these positive rankings, health care coverage received an average ranking. Rates of coverage are often linked to policy choices from previous legislative sessions. Recent studies show that total CCO spending in 2016 was $3.3 billion, commercial primary care spending $3.9 billion, and Medicare primary care spending reached $2.7 billion. These figures represent investment towards increasing health care coverage. 

A new presentation from the Oregon Health Authority highlights new health care enrollment goals and spending benchmarks for the future. The presentation was shown to the legislature this year? with the goal of creating legislation aimed at lowering costs, increasing enrollment, and providing better health care overall. 

The report also shows alarming trends regarding child vaccination rates. Oregon received a critical ranking in this category, with the lowest number of vaccinated children overall. This session, the legislature worked to tighten vaccination laws. A series of bills worked to create more strict laws, attempting to increase the rates of vaccinations in the state. Many of these bills are still being considered. 

The rankings in this report are reflective of trends that the Oregon Legislature is working to correct and improve. Vaccination rates, and overall coverage rates represented the largest attempts at improvement this session.