The Best & Worst States For Children’s Health Care

Millions of American children currently have access to health care through the Affordable Care Act, but if the Republicans succeed in repealing it, that could soon change. The GOP's new bill would allow health care to be governed largely by the states. Depending on where you live, that could be just fine, or disastrous, because a comparison of the best and worst states for children's health care reveals some stark differences in how different local governments prioritize kids' health. WalletHub has gathered polling data from several government and non-profit agencies in order to rank each state, plus the District of Columbia, on nearly 30 different metrics relating to health care cost, quality, and access, and the data could soon matter more than ever.

If you live in New England, you're in luck, because five of the region's six states scored among the top 10 (sorry, Maine). If you're in the South or Southwest, however, things aren't looking too good. Ironically, the Trump administration acknowledged that some states will fall short under the new plan; during a late March CBS This Morning interview, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said, "I talked to some folks in the Northeast, and they say, 'We don’t really mind that much about essential health benefits, because our states already require insurance policies sold in those states to have that.'" And if your state wants to drop requirements for preventive care coverage, or price out patients with preexisting conditions? Mulvaney suggests that you "figure out a way to change the state."

At this point, it's unclear whether the GOP's latest repeal attempt would cut Obamacare requirements for certain coverage or not — the most recent document made available to the public, the MacArthur Amendment, would allow states to obtain waivers to those rules. But during Saturday's completely bonkers Face the Nation interview, President Donald Trump claimed several times that preexisting conditions were "guaranteed" to be covered, "And I mandate it," before finally conceding that "we ultimately want to get it back down to the states." According to CNN, 4.4 million children could lose their health care coverage if the ACA is repealed.

But cost and coverage aren't the only things that WalletHub evaluated. The analysis also examined things like which states had the most kids up-to-date on their vaccines and pediatricians per capita, the prevalence of fast-food restaurants and fluoridated water, and childhood obesity and death rates, among others.

Many states show up consistently in the top or bottom five for several metrics, but overall, the five best are:

Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

The five worst are:

Nevada, Mississippi, Arizona, Alaska, and Texas.

South Carolina, the state that Mulvaney served for the last decade until his current appointment, is ranked 43rd.