Health Disparities Across the United States


The Commonwealth Fund released the 2019 Scorecard on State Health System Performance. This report uses recently available data to assess each State and Washington, DC, on 47 measures of access to healthcare, quality of care, health outcomes, and income-based healthcare disparities.

Key findings of the report are:

  • The rise in deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drug overdose is a national crisis, but effects vary across States.
  • Although coverage expansions have led to historically low uninsured rates, progress to expand health insurance coverage has stalled, and in some States has begun to erode.
  • Between 2013 and 2016, per-enrollee costs grew faster in employer plans than in Medicare.

Health disparities also exist between Medicare beneficiaries in rural and urban communities. A report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Rural-Urban Disparities in Health Care in Medicare (PDF—5.6 MB), compares the disparities found in clinical care in rural and urban areas for beneficiaries enrolled in fee-for-service as opposed to Medicare Advantage plans. It also explores how patient experience varies by race, ethnicity, and coverage type.

In addition, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality produces the annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report and provides State snapshots each year.