How accessible is health care in Illinois?

Marc FilippinoReboot Illinois

December 25, 2016

If you needed access to health care on the spot, are you sure you could get it? Turns out for Illinoisans, it’s a gamble.

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University took a look at health care accessibility for each state for its Healthcare Openness and Access Project (HOAP). While there is a big focus on the future of the Affordable Care Act, members of HOAP said states hold enough power to determine things like provider services, patient harm liability, and health care delivery services. In their examination of each state’s health care system, HOAP found some states far exceed others.

HOAP looked at 10 sub-indexes to determine to the ranking system of all 50 states and Washington D.C. (we’ll get to the full list in just a little bit). They include variables like whether a state has pro-direct primary care laws and how much physicians have to pay in malpractice actions. You can see the whole list of sub-indexes on the Mercatus website.

With all those factors accounted for, HOAP ranks Idaho, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Utah as the states with the best health care accessibility.

Meanwhile, Illinois is near the bottom of the HOAP ranking system.

Illinois does have some rewarding parts to its health care system. HOAP said Illinois has little regulation on providers and insurers had a lot of flexibility in determining structure and pricing when it came to creating policies. However, Illinois’ score dropped because of its high burden for health care services, financing methods, and devices. Plus, HOAP researchers found Illinois is not very kind to telemedicine practitioners (those who use telecommunications technology for the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients).

While Illinoisans’ access to health care has room for improvement, the Prairie State definitely doesn’t have it worst in the nation. As the map notes many Northeast states, like New York and New Jersey, were close to the bottom of the list. Georgia anchored the rankings with some of the toughest government licensing barriers and restrictions to drugs and treatment in the country.

HOAP researchers admitted the study should be taken with a grain of salt. Here’s its disclaimer:

“… any index of this type necessarily involves a substantial measure of subjectivity and arbitrariness. There is also a degree of ambiguity. Implicitly, a higher score on the overall index or a particular subindex suggests “better” conditions than a lower score does, but the case for one score being better than the other may not be clear…In some ways, the goal of HOAP is to encourage questions rather than to provide definitive answers. HOAP is a journey, not a destination.”

 

So keep that in mind as you take a look at the list of states’ scores and strongest features included below.

 

1. Idaho

  • Overall score: 3.86
  • Strongest features: high flexibility of health care ownership, direct primary care, high health care provider flexibility

2. Montana

  • Overall score: 3.68
  • Strongest features: flexibility of health care ownership, patients can easily access to pharmaceuticals, few licensing barriers for medical professionals

3. Missouri

  • Overall score: 3.66
  • Strongest features: flexibility of health care ownership, direct primary care

4. Mississippi

  • Overall score: 3.65
  • Strongest features: flexibility of health care ownership, few licensing barriers for medical professionals

5. Utah

  • Overall score: 3.61
  • Strongest features: flexibility of health care ownership, direct primary care 

6. Wisconsin

  • Overall score: 3.59
  • Strongest features: doctors face fewer threats of malpractice litigation,  health care providers have the flexibility to determine hospital and pharmacy operations

7. Wyoming

  • Overall score:3.59
  • Strongest features: flexibility of health care ownership, iInsurers can flexibly determine the structure and pricing of policies

8. Indiana

  • Overall score: 3.57
  • Strongest features: high access to substance abuse remedies, flexibility of health care ownership

 

9. Colorado

  • Overall score: 3.56
  • Strongest features: patients can easily access to pharmaceuticals,  doctors face fewer threats of malpractice litigation

10. Alaska

  • Overall score: 3.5
  • Strongest features: low tax burden for certain health care services, financing methods, and devices, and flexible health care ownership

11. Nevada

  • Overall score: 3.48
  • Strongest features:  patients can easily access to pharmaceuticals,  low tax burden for certain health care services, financing methods, and devices

12. Nebraska

  • Overall score: 3.4
  • Strongest feature: doctors face fewer threats of malpractice litigation

13. Virginia

  • Overall score: 3.37
  • Strongest feature:  low tax burden for certain health care services, financing methods, and devices

14. South Dakota

  • Overall rank: 3.36
  • Strongest feature: health care providers can flexibly determine hospital and pharmacy operations

15. New Hampshire

  • Overall: 3.36
  • Strongest features: few licensing barriers for medical professionals

16. Louisiana

  • Overall score: 3.33
  • Strongest features: access to substance abuse remedies

17. Oregon

  • Overall score: 3.31
  • Strongest features: patients can easily access to pharmaceuticals, few licensing barriers for medical professionals 

 

18. Arizona

  • Overall score: 3.28
  • Strongest feature: direct primary care practices, patients can easily access to pharmaceuticals

19. Alabama

  • Overall score: 3.25
  • Strongest feature: high access to substance abuse remedies

20. Texas

  • Overall score: 3.23
  • Strongest feature: direct primary care

21. New Mexico

  • Overall score: 3.22
  • Strongest feature: high access to substance abuse remedies

22. Maine

  • Overall score: 3.21
  • Strongest feature: practitioners can easily use telecommunications technology to diagnosis and treat patients remotely

23. Washington

  • Overall score: 3.19
  • Strongest features: direct primary care, practitioners can easily use telecommunications technology to diagnosis and treat patients remotely

24. Ohio

  • Overall score: 3.18
  • Strongest feature: high access to substance abuse remedies

T-25. Michigan

  • Overall score: 3.18
  • Strongest feature: patients can easily access to pharmaceuticals

T-25. Iowa

  • Overall score: 3.18
  • Strongest feature: flexibility of health care ownership

27. Pennsylvania

  • Overall score: 3.18
  • Strongest feature: health care providers can flexibly determine hospital and pharmacy operations

28. North Dakota

  • Overall score: 3.17
  • Strongest features: doctors face fewer threats of malpractice litigation

29. Hawaii

  • Overall score: 3.12
  • Strongest feature: flexibility of health care ownership

30. Kansas

  • Overall score: 3.12
  • Strongest feature: health care providers can flexibly determine hospital and pharmacy operations

31. South Carolina

  • Overall score: 3.09
  • Strongest feature: Insurers can flexibly determine the structure and pricing of policies

 

32. Florida

  • Overall score: 3.04
  • Strongest feature: direct primary care

33. Oklahoma

  • Overall score: 3.04
  • Strongest feature: doctors face fewer threats of malpractice litigation

34. California

  • Overall score: 3.03
  • Strongest feature: high access to substance abuse remedies

35. Tennessee

  • Overall: 3.03
  • Strongest feature: patients can easily access to pharmaceuticals

36. Maryland

  • Overall score: 3.03
  • Strongest feature: direct primary care

37. Illinois

  • Overall score: 3.01
  • Strongest feature:  health care providers can flexibly determine hospital and pharmacy operations, insurers can flexibly determine the structure and pricing of policies

38. Delware

  • Overall score: 2.98
  • Strongest feature: low tax burden for certain health care services, financing methods, and devices

39. Minnesota

  • Overall score: 2.97
  • Strongest feature: doctors face fewer threats of malpractice litigation

40. Washington D.C.

  • Overall score: 2.94
  • Strongest feature: health care providers can flexibly determine hospital and pharmacy operations

 

41. Massachusetts

  • Overall score: 2.89
  • Strongest feature: direct primary care

42. Vermont

  • Overall score: 2.87
  • Strongest feature: practitioners can easily use telecommunications technology to diagnosis and treat patients remotely

 

43. North Carolina

  • Overall score: 2.87
  • Strongest feature: high access to substance abuse remedies

 

44. West Virginia

  • Overall score: 2.84
  • Strongest feature: direct primary care,  access to substance abuse remedies

45. Kentucky

  • Overall score: 2.81
  • Strongest feature: high access to substance abuse remedies

46. Arkansas

  • Overall score: 2.79
  • Strongest feature: health care providers can flexibly determine hospital and pharmacy operations

47. Rhode Island

  • Overall score: 2.78
  • Strongest feature: high flexibility of health care ownership

48. Connecticut

  • Overall score: 2.71
  • Strongest feature: high access to substance abuse remedies

49. New York

  • Overall score: 2.66
  • Strongest feature: high access to substance abuse remedies

50. New Jersey

  • Overall score: 2.59
  • Strongest feature: doctors face fewer threats of malpractice litigation

51. Georgia

  • Overall score: 2.55
  • Strongest feature: direct primary care
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