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Sunday, 17th August 2008

U.S. Index of Health Ownership, 2008 Report

U.S. Index of Health Ownership, 2008 Report
Source: Pacific Research Institute

San Francisco-Americans lack the basic freedom to make their own health care decisions according to the second edition of the U.S. Index of Health Ownership, an annual report by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI). The Index measures the degree to which individuals, be they patients, health professionals, entrepreneurs, or taxpayers, "own" the health care in their states.

"The lack of health ownership is a real problem," said John R. Graham, director of Health Care Studies at PRI and author of the Index. "Almost half of the country's health care spending is in the hands of the government, instead of patients themselves. The other half is governed by regulations inflicted upon doctors, health plans and patients."

State Ranking Results

The Index uses 24 variables to quantify how state laws and regulations affect the liberty of citizens involved in state government health plans (primarily Medicaid), the private health-insurance market, and the provision of medical services. It also assesses the effect of medical tort on people's freedom to engage health services.

Alabama, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and New Hampshire finished in the top five, as the states that allow their citizens the highest degree of health ownership. Alabama leads the pack primarily because of a lightly regulated private insurance market, and good control of state government programs. Also, the state performs well on medical tort indicators. Alabama's regulatory environment for providers favors competition, and government health programs run more effectively than in most states.

+ Full Report (PDF; 1 MB)


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