Every year United Health Foundation releases a report on America’s Health Rankings. This is a state by state assessment, and every year New Hampshire is one of the healthiest places in the nation to live. Last year we were ranked second, this year third, but always in the top three or four.
The two states that beat us are the two that always seem to, Vermont and Hawaii. Hawaii was number one this year, Vermont number two. And I was wondering why? Was there a wide range of separation or just one or two core measures where the reported difference was so wide as to keep New Hampshire down?
The answer is yes to the latter.
While there are many differences, and more than a few where New Hampshire comes out better, the most obvious (widest difference in ranking) was Public health spending. Hawaii ranked number one, Vermont number three, and New Hampshire came in at thirty-six.
The United Health Foundation defines Public Health funding as…
State funding dedicated to public health as well as federal funding directed to states by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration. (Collected by TFAH.)
If you are a progressive you are appalled that the Granite State ranks thirty sixth in public health funding. If you are a Conservative or a Libertarian you say, thirty-sixth in public health funding but consistently in the top three overall–funding is clearly not the primary driver of overall health.
And that is exactly my point.
How does New Hampshire consistently rank so well given that the State – relative to number one and two on the survey at least–spends so little?
Could it be “The New Hampshire Advantage?” We have low taxes, a small efficient government…and our state spends less, leaving more for jobs, growth and personal prosperity. I’m going with “yes, that’s it!”
We have a high average annual income, the lowest poverty and lowest child poverty in the nation. We have the lowest infant mortality rate, and rank third lowest for violent crime just behind Vermont which, by the way, has even less restrictive gun laws than New Hampshire which is saying something.
So where else did we lose it on this survey. Binge drinking (which I think we can assign to college towns that are filled with non-residents anyway), Mental health days (see also binge drinking), and we ranked 25th for immunization and cancer deaths. Of the remaining 19 core measures we were in the top twenty for all of them and in the top ten for ten of the core measures.
It’s not about state spending it’s about personal freedom and the ability to create the kind of personal wealth (even the moderate variety) which allows us as a state to not just rank better in all these categories but for more of us to pay our own way. When we are allowed to make enough to pay our own way we don’t need the state to spend more.
And Progressives can’t connect these dots, either because they are unable, or simply refuse to. They’ll probably just say we need to spend more when clearly we do not.