In the past decade, states with the highest per-capita healthcare spending tended to have older populations and higher per-capita incomes, while states that spent less on healthcare had younger populations, lower per-capita incomes and a higher rate of uninsured, according to a CMS paper published in the journal Medicare & Medicaid Research Review (PDF).
Mass., Alaska tops in healthcare spending
Ten states—Massachusetts, Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania—had the highest level of spending in 2009, and the per-capita spending for these states ranged from 15% to 36% higher than the average U.S. per capital spending level of $6,815 from $7,730 in Pennsylvania to $9,278 for Massachusetts. And income levels appeared to have a “positive relationship” with health spending, the report noted.
“If people have higher incomes, people are going to want more of most things,” John Holahan, director of the health policy research center at the Urban Institute, said Wednesday during a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation webcast about the findings.
Meanwhile, 14 states had per-enrollee Medicare spending levels greater than the national average in 2009, and these were states that generally had a higher concentration of elderly residents, with the combined enrollment for these states accounting for more than half of all Medicare enrollees in the nation. “The composition of the elderly in terms of gender and race also helped to explain some differences in Medicare spending per enrollee,” the study noted.
Holahan also commented on potential healthcare spending trends leading to 2014, when many of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reforms will be implemented. “Assuming the ACA is around, there will be coverage expansions and other things that will be the new drivers,” Holahan said. “If the economy is stronger, I expect health spending to go up.”
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