A new health care study shows that so-called “deaths of despair” have doubled in the U.S. in recent years, but Wyoming is among the ten states struggling with the problem the least. That’s according to the Commonwealth Fund Scorecard, a report on state health care systems. But in general, the report shows that Wyoming’s health care is still lagging in many areas, coming in 33rd in the country overall.
Commonwealth Fund Scientist David Radley said the state did especially poor in making sure adults received cancer screenings.
“Over 30 percent of adults failed to get all recommended cancer screenings, with the rates ranging from 24 percent in Connecticut to 40 percent not getting recommended screenings in Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming.”
Wyoming has some of the highest colorectal cancer death rates, according to the report.
The report also shows that children in Wyoming continue to have limited access to health care, especially for their mental health needs, where the state ranked 2nd worst in care. Wyoming was also 10th in the country for its rates of infant mortality and 11th for obesity in children. Such factors put Wyoming near the bottom in the country for its health care.
Radley said the study showed that Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act helped many states make leaps in improvement.
“States across the country experienced widespread gains in health care coverage following the Affordable Care Act major coverage expansions,” said Radley. “Uninsured rates were down across the country and fewer people reported skipping needed care because of the cost in 2016 compared to 2013.”
Wyoming legislators debated Medicaid expansion numerous times but have not expanded the state’s Medicaid coverage.