Thursday, February 3, 2011

California Nightmare: 44th in Children’s Health, 47th in Education

The Nightmare, 1781, by Henry Fuessli
Sunshine. Warm weather. Beaches and palm trees. And one of the worst places to live if you want a decent education and health care for your kids.

A recent Commonwealth Fund survey compared children’s health across the U.S. California ranked 44th; Massachusetts ranked 1st. The survey examined 20 indicators, including insurance coverage, affordability of care and access to treatment. The main reason California ranked so poorly is its high uninsured rate for children (about 11%). Massachusetts, in contrast, has universal coverage.

California also has very low vaccination rates (see Murderous Marin Moms) of 78%, compared to 84% for Iowa, the top state for that indicator. As a result, Pertusis (whooping cough) has reached epidemic levels in California, with 5600 cases and 10 deaths last year. Only 50% of children in California have a consistent medical provider, compared with 69% in top-ranked New Hampshire.

In related news, California ranks 47th in per-pupil education spending, ($2,856 less per pupil than the national average).

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