UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
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.