NH Public Policy
New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies

Health and Equity in New Hampshire: 2013 Report Card

Executive Summary

Date: February 22nd, 2013

This report presents New Hampshire’s first ever Health and Equity Report Card reflecting data to measure key health disparities among the state’s racial, ethnic, and linguistic minority populations. Our goal is to provoke questions, illustrate trends and patterns, and generate more interest in collecting and analyzing data to understand health disparities among these groups in order to advance health and equity in New Hampshire.

This Report Card, prepared in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health & Refugee Affairs, includes existing race, ethnicity and language (REaL) data and compares outcomes for different minority groups to show the degree of equity or inequity within each measure. This is referred to as an “Equity Index.” Disparities in health outcomes are linked to the other factors affecting health, each with an explanation as to why that measure matters. We also present a specific examination of health equity among juvenile age groups in New Hampshire, and conclude with suggestions for improving REaL data collection in New Hampshire, and “best practices” from other states.

Understanding how health and equity issues affect racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities in our state is important for both practical and policy purposes. Policymakers should be concerned about health equity, as research shows that health disparities actually lower overall health care quality and increase overall health care costs. Recent analysis estimates that 30 percent of direct medical costs for Blacks, Hispanics, and Asian Americans are excess costs due to health inequities and that the economy loses an estimated $309 billion per year due to the direct and indirect costs of such disparities.

Our main findings are:

  • Examining New Hampshire data by race and ethnicity clearly shows that not everyone in the state has equal opportunities for good health, and that health outcomes vary from one minority group to another.
  • Health disparities are often discussed in the context of the provision of medical care, but it is the social determinants of health which are likely more important to the long term well-being of racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities.
  • While some of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act were developed specifically to address health equity, state policymakers can address health disparities by raising community awareness and educating the public about health reform and health equity. These efforts can include encouraging cross-agency collaboration to advance policy recommendations, and raising awareness about health equity by framing the issue in terms of quality, cost and justice.
  • REaL data collection in New Hampshire should be improved, through common standards for what information is collected, how it is collected, training of data collectors, and how data is utilized.

Report File