Arizona ranks 3rd lowest in per-person public health funding

A recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota found Arizona ranks in the bottom three states for per-person public health care spending. Arizona spends $9 dollars a person on state public health funding. Missouri and Nevada are the only states that spend less than Arizona. 

The data was collected by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center, which is part of the University. The data in the study goes as far back as 2005 to show how the Great Recession impacted health care spending across the nation. 

Data shows that the Great Recession sharply cut per-person health care spending. In 2007, for example, Arizona spent roughly $20 a person, but following the recession, per-person spending dropped to the lowest point to date. The state has spent $9 per-person since 2015. 

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Recent reporting following the release of the data shows that Arizona is still making progress towards increasing health care funding. Will Humble, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association, explained that the state is still steadily receiving funding from the federal government. 

“Federal funds are a steady source of revenue for Arizona’s Department of Health Services, and when combined with dollars spent by the state, it raises the average dollar amount spent per person to be more in line with the national average,” Humble told reporters from the Arizona Mirror. 

Many states, including Arizona, are still battling the impacts of the Great Recession. Measures like hiring freezes limit the amount of federal grants states can apply for. Arizona has been directly impacted by these limitations. AZDHS has received increasingly less funding from the federal government in recent years. 

Partisan politics in the legislature also play a large role in these funding changes. Humble believes that until Arizona has a divided partisan government, health care funding will not take priority.