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Vermont is the best state for healthcare, Louisiana is worst

Aarthi Swaminathan
Finance Writer

Vermont is the best state for healthcare and Louisiana is the worst, according to a new survey by WalletHub.

As healthcare prices continue to rise by more than $1,200 a year according to one study, WalletHub looked how all the states stacked up — not just by cost — but by access and outcomes and found that the Green Mountain State ranked overall best.

A nurse wields a curling iron as she helps a longterm patient with her hair. (ERIC GREGORY, Journal Star)

Massachusetts and New Hampshire came in second and third place, while the nation’s capital came in eighth.

  1. Vermont
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Minnesota
  5. Hawaii
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Colorado
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Iowa
  10. Maryland

Vermont climbed from eighth place the previous year, putting three New England states at the top three. The winner last year was Hawaii, which dropped to fifth place.

Chart: WalletHub

One of the factors that placed Vermont at the top of the list was its low number of infant mortalities — at three per 1,000 live births — which is three times lower than Alabama’s rate, the highest at nine.

Runner-up Massachusetts had the lowest average monthly health-insurance premium at $290, which was 3.6 times lower than in Alaska, the highest at $1,041.

Green Mountain Care

Vermont has also been pushing for a comprehensive health plan dubbed Medicare for all. The initiative, brought forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders, is hoping to achieve a single-payer system for those living in the state.

The idea is not new. Vermont had previously tried — and failed — to enact the first state-level single-payer healthcare system in the U.S. called Green Mountain Care in 2011. The draft then was aimed to give people in Vermont universal healthcare coverage which would be publicly financed versus being required by businesses. But it was abandoned in 2014 as the tax load became too much for smaller businesses in the state.

Worst states

Louisiana came in last place on the rankings, behind Mississippi and Alaska. 

The southern state was also ranked as the worst state overall in this year’s U.S. News & World Report, based on data provided by McKinsey & Company’s Leading States Index. The state fared badly not just on health care, but education, economy, and infrastructure as well.

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