Residents of the Northeast and Alaska spend more on healthcare than those in other parts of the U.S., according to CMS figures.
The agency found that residents of Alaska and nine Northeastern states, including Massachusetts, Maine, New York and Pennsylvania spent 20% more than the U.S. average on healthcare services in 2004 ($6,345 per capita vs. $5,283), according to a CMS report that appeared as a Health Affairs Web exclusive article.
Most of these states have consistently had the highest spending over time, says report co-author Anne Martin, an economist with the CMS Office of the Actuary. There is no one clear explanation, but there are several similar characteristics among these states. These include higher per capita personal income levels, as well as high concentrations of physicians in the populations and fewer uninsured residents. States with generous Medicaid programs also had higher spending levels, according to the report.
By comparison, residents in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions spent about $4,244 per person in 2004one-fifth less than the U.S. average.
At a briefing last month, Peter Orzag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, noted that the higher-spending regions do not seem to generate better health outcomes than the lower-spending regions.
The CMS report expands on a previous report examining the causes of spending differences from 1998 through 2004, the most recent years for which data were available. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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