Why Do Some States Spend More on Health Care?

One of the interesting features of the Affordable Care Act is that reform basically takes place at the state level. Yet the states are very different. Some spend more than twice as much on health care as others, as a percent of state income.

For example, health care spending in three states — Maine, West Virginia and Mississippi — accounts for one out of every five dollars of state GDP. Conversely, Wyoming spends less than 9 percent. (See the table at the end of this post.) If every state were like Wyoming, the United States as a whole would be spending less of its income on health care than about three-fourths of the other developed countries.

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