June 26, 2023

Premature, preventable deaths up across the US

Editor's Note

The annual Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, released June 22, finds an increase in preventable deaths in all states in 2021, especially among Blacks and American Indian/Alaska Native people, and a nearly two-fold increase in maternal mortality from 2018 to 2021.

Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New Hampshire had the highest scores, while Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Mississippi had the lowest.

Every state had an increase in premature deaths (ie, before age 75), which was largely driven by COVID-19. The pandemic also contributed to heightened substance abuse and barriers to care for diseases like diabetes and cancer.

In addition, there was an increase in mental and behavioral health issues during the pandemic, with a combined death rate from drug overdoses, alcohol, and suicide of 200,000 lives, an increase of 50,000 from 2019.

The reports use federal healthcare data from 2021 on 58 measures of healthcare outcomes, equity, and affordability.


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