Promoting Health and Cost Control in States
The circumstances in our everyday lives shape our health whether it’s where we live, how we eat, where we go to school, our workplaces, who we care for, or what opportunities we have (or don’t have) to succeed, it all has a profound effect on long-term health—regardless of what type of healthcare we receive.
February 21, 2019
State policymakers often focus on improving resident’s health by expanding and ensuring access to quality health services. While the healthcare sector has a critical role in improving health outcomes, studies show that only 10 to 20 percent of health is determined by medical care. The circumstances in our everyday lives shape our health whether it’s where we live, how we eat, where we go to school, our workplaces, who we care for, or what opportunities we have (or don’t have) to succeed, it all has a profound effect on long-term health—regardless of what type of healthcare we receive. This report considers some of the root causes of poor health and suggests policies that support multisector solutions, beyond the healthcare sector, to improve a communities health.
The social and economic factors related to where people live, learn, play and work are interconnected and significantly impact health. Prevention starts with people leading a healthy lifestyle, yet far too many Americans face systemic barriers that make it difficult for them to prioritize a healthy lifestyle and even more difficult to lead one. Fortunately, state-level decision makers are in a strong position to break down these barriers, create healthy communities, and reduce health disparities.
While there are many evidence-based policies that can be implemented to improve health and reduce healthcare costs at the state level, state leaders are not always aware of these options. Sifting through reams of studies to identify what works and what doesn’t isn’t a practical use of a legislators’ time. Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) created the Promoting Health and Cost Control in the States (PHACCS) initiative to pinpoint the most promising evidence-based policies for state leaders to consider.
With the rich diversity of individual state needs in mind, this report, Promoting Health and Cost Control: How States Can Improve Community Health and Well-Being Through Policy Change, provides a range of options for state leaders to explore as they consider how to best use their state’s resources to improve the health and well-being of their population. Specifically, the report supports the following goals and policies for states:
- Goal 1: Support the Connections Between Health and Learning.
- Goal 2: Employ Harm-Reduction Strategies to Prevent Substance Misuse Deaths and Related Diseases.
- Goal 3: Promote Healthy Behavior.
- Goal 4: Promote Active Living and Connectedness.
- Goal 5: Ensure Safe, Healthy, and Affordable Housing for All.
- Goal 6: Create Opportunities for Economic Well-Being.
The report provides detailed information on each of these 13 recommended evidence-based policies, including descriptions of the policies, summaries of health and economic evidence, case examples, and considerations for implementation. Additionally, the report highlights a set of complementary policies for state officials to consider.
By looking beyond clinical services and focusing on improving health through multisector solutions, state policymakers can improve how people in their state live, learn, work and play.