UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Health Indicators

There are few issues of greater importance in the public policy arena than those dealing with health care.  According to the Kaiser Foundation, the United States spent $3.2 trillion on health care in 2015.  This amounts to $9,990 for every person in the country.  This $303 trillion represents 17.8% of the nation's … GDP." The US spends more on health care per person than any other industrialized nation.  Despite our heavy expenditures on health care, outcomes in the U.S are not particularly good.  Infant mortality in U.S (5.8/100,000 births) exceeds that of the European Union (4/100,000) and life expectancy is lower in the U.S. (72 for males and 79 for females) than in Europe (78 for men and 83 for women) (Population Reference Bureau).   It is also true that measuring the overall health of a community is challenging because there are so many dimensions to this indicator of well-being.  

The data indicate a mixed bag in terms of the health status of the counties in the St Croix Valley.  A majority of the counties have lower percentages of their populations who report not having health insurance than is true for their respective state, and the number of uninsured residents has declined in all counties following the Affordable Care Act. In addition the rate of hospitalizations due to injury is lower than their state averages in four of the seven counties. The percentage of seniors "aging in place" (non-institutional housing) is higher their respective state averages in four counties. On the other hand, infant mortality rates are higher than the state average in two of the counties, and all the counties have slightly higher rates of adult obesity than their respective states.