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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SBE Council's "Health Care Policy Cost Index 2011" Ranks the States

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) has released its "Health Care Policy Cost Index 2011," which ranks the 50 states and District of Columbia according to public policy measures that impact the cost of health care.

[To access "Health Care Policy Index 2011," please click here.]

SBE Council chief economist Raymond J. Keating, author of the report, said: "In March of last year, President Obama signed into law a massive government intervention into health care, including expanded government spending, regulation, mandates and taxes. Unless Congress repeals all or key parts, the phase in of this new health care law inevitably will mean increased costs. But it's not just about what's happening at the federal level. The states impose policies that affect the accessibility and affordability of health care services and insurance as well."

Keating added: "Expanded government programs and spending mean fewer incentives to be concerned about prices and utilization of services. More mandates on insurers inevitably mean higher insurance costs. And with increased regulation, costs rise as government effectively overrules or distorts the private, competitive marketplace."

The "Health Care Policy Cost Index 2011" ties together seven measures, including tax treatment of health savings accounts, various forms of guaranteed issue regulation, various community rating regulations, number of insurance coverage mandates, and whether or not states have high-risk pools. (The "Health Care Policy Cost Index 2011" is a spin off of SBE Council's "Small Business Survival Index 2010.")

Among the 50 states and District of Columbia, the best 10 states in terms of state health care policies are: 1) South Carolina, 2) Alaska, 3) Iowa, 4) Indiana, 5) South Dakota, 6) Nebraska, 7) Wyoming, 8t) Montana, 8t) Oklahoma, and 10) Alabama.

Meanwhile, the 10 worst states are: 42) Florida, 43) Colorado, 44) Connecticut, 45) Washington, 46) Vermont, 47) New Jersey, 48) New York, 49) Rhode Island, 50) Massachusetts, and 51) Maine.

Keating concluded: "Rather than advocating more government control over health care funding and decisions, policymakers need to be reining in government-related costs, including mandates and litigation costs, and pushing ahead with reforms that actually expand choice and competition, and boost affordability and access to care and coverage."

To read "Health Care Policy Cost Index 2011," please click here.

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