ARKANSAS – The U.S. health care system faced new levels of scrutiny in the past year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There were shortages of medical masks, ICU beds, as well as nurses. But even before the pandemic, some states were much better equipped to handle both everyday health needs — and the pandemic — than others.
There are many states in which residents are much more likely to lack health care insurance. In many of these states, there are also fewer medical professionals relative to the population, which can hinder access to care, as well as underfunded medical hospitals.
The health care system in Arkansas ranks as the 10th worst in the country.
Arkansas’ health care system ranks as the 10th worst in the U.S. largely due to the state’s relatively low spending on health care as well as fewer than average numbers of health professionals per capita.
Though the state spends a relatively high amount of money per capita on hospitals, Arkansas only spends $58 per person on health care, the lowest per capita figure in the U.S. and compared to the national average of $205.
Arkansas residents may also have a harder time seeing health specialists than people in other states. There are 66.4 primary physicians per 100,000 residents in the state, compared to 75.8 per 100,000 in the U.S. as a whole. The state ranks the lowest in the number of dentists per 100,000 residents, at 47.6 per 100,000 residents in the state compared to 71.2 per 100,000 people nationwide.