Texas healthcare ranks “average” in recent 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 healthcare 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

Texas ranks in the ‘average’ category overall, showing an average percentage in the mid-twenties, out of one-hundred. This ranking is a result of very low rankings in some categories of care, coupled with higher than national average rankings in other categories. 

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Here are Texas’s standout trends: 

The highest ranking category in the state was in home nursing care, which ranked in the top 20 percent across the nation. Overall hospital capacity was slightly above average as well, showing a ranking near the top 40 percent. This suggests that patients are able to access hospital care, on average, better than other states. 

Child vaccination rates and patient care, however, ranked near the bottom compared to other states. Texas was placed in the bottom 40 percent in both categories. Infant survival rates and infant mortality both ranked average compared to other states, according to the report

Senior Analyst, Richard Barrington, speculated as to some reasons Texas may rank highest in some cases, and lowest in others. Positive marks in nursing home and hospital capacity in the state are largely a result of the investment and focus on commercial real estate across Texas. 

Barrington also suggested that the poor performance in child vaccination rates is a result of the lack of investment in human service areas, and more investment on things like infrastructure. 

A key finding in the report shows Texas ranking last in health care coverage. Texas is more than three percentage points behind the second lowest ranked state. Barrington explained that this low ranking in coverage is directly a result of policy choices made during budget debates this session. The allocation of funding to specific departments is one such example.  

While the overall budget increased by 16 percent, the funding allocated towards health and human services in the state only increased 1 percent. The unemployment rates in the state are also a contributing factor according to the report. Texas has an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent. If employers incentivised health care coverage, encouraging more Texans to become employed, the rates of coverage could increase.