Every four years, the Commonwealth Fund evaluates each state’s overall health system on metrics that include healthcare access, treatment capabilities, hospital usage, healthy lives, and equity. This year, New Jersey ranked 15 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a jump of eight places over its ranking of 23 in 2009.
New Jersey made improvements in most areas, including access to healthcare and avoidable hospital use and costs. But its two major areas of improvement were in healthy lives and healthcare equity.
New Jersey was ranked seventh for healthy lives, mostly due to fewer cancer deaths and lower mortality rates. But also because the rate of obesity for children between the ages of 10 and 17 dropped and fewer adults have lost their teeth due to tooth decay and gum disease.
Equity — which refers to the disparity of healthcare due to income or race — also improved, with New Jersey’s rank moving from 21 to 15. A lot of that was due to more children having health insurance.