Health care spending in Iowa is among the lowest of the country, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which released data showing that Iowa ranked 16th in spending on health care in fiscal year 2018.
In Iowa, that meant health care spending on Medicaid, which is the state’s main health care program for low-income families, was about a third the national average.
But the data didn’t show whether Iowa residents also spent more on other kinds of health care, like prescription drugs, in general.
The state’s health insurance plan, the Iowa Insurance Exchange, spent $2,964 on health benefits in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, more than twice the national spending.
It also spent a lot more than the national benchmark for the same period.
Iowa spent $5,828 more on prescription drugs in fiscal 2019 than the U.S. average, and nearly $10,000 more than all of the states that spend less than Iowa.
That spending led the state to rank as the fifth-most expensive in the country in fiscal 2018, according the foundation’s report.
Iowa’s ranking was lower than the bottom three states for health care expenditures per capita, according for example, and the top two states were Michigan and Texas.
The Iowa Insurance Exchanges plan is based on a system of publicly funded private insurance that pays for premiums, deductibles and copays.
It’s an ambitious and costly plan that has not been tested in the United States and is only expected to cost taxpayers $8 billion over the next five years, according a report released by the Iowa Health Policy Council, a nonpartisan nonprofit group.
A federal study found that Iowa’s plan was not fully affordable, and Iowa’s state officials said they had taken steps to reduce the costs of the insurance plan.
In 2018, the state expanded the state health insurance program to cover more than 100,000 low- and moderate-income people, and it is now covering more than 150,000.
Iowa ranked No. 1 for spending per capita on prescription drug benefits in that same year.
Health care experts have argued that the federal government should have more control over health care financing, especially for the high cost of medical care.
But in Iowa, the administration says it has taken steps in recent years to lower costs and improve quality, and that it is still not fully cost-effective.