The Well-Being Journal

The State of Health Care – President Obama’s Recent JAMA Article

Cameron Bowman

Six years after the adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and with President Obama’s second term in office coming to a close, a great deal of scrutiny has been placed on health care trends in the United States under the new law.

To address this topic, President Obama recently released a scholarly article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), notable as the first time a president has published a scholarly work while in office. Reading as part retrospective, part analysis and part call-to-action, the article entitled “United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps,” details the impact of the ACA.

Findings and data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index are cited prominently in the article, illustrating the impact that expanded Medicaid coverage and state-based marketplace exchanges have had on lowering uninsured rates.

The results are telling – there is a near doubling in the reduction of uninsured rates in states who had adopted both provisions.


Since 2008, Gallup and Healthways have tracked uninsured rates across the U.S. and the Well-Being Index is considered one of the most authoritative measures on this topic. Our research shows that the adoption of the ACA has had a profound effect on reducing uninsured rates, which have declined 6.1 percentage points since the fourth quarter of 2013, right before the key provision of the Affordable Care Act took effect. As of the 2Q 2015, uninsured rates are at historical lows.


“The substantive analysis presented by President Obama on the impact of the ACA underscores the importance of tracking health and well-being of our citizens on an ongoing basis,” said Mr. Witters. “It is an honor to be cited by the President, and we hope our ongoing well-being research continues to be  leveraged to highlight opportunities for improving population health and our health care system nationwide.”

For additional commentary on the JAMA article, click here.

Learn more about our Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index findings.

Topics: ACA Uninsured Rate

Select Communities in Florida, California, Colorado and Texas Excel in Gallup-Healthways Rankings

Cameron Bowman

The importance of promoting well-being within a community cannot be overstated. While higher well-being not only has a tangible impact on lowering healthcare costs and improving job performance, it also signifies better quality of life, greater sense of purpose and closer relationships within a community setting. A new report from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® indicates that while many communities nationwide have high well-being, there is still room for improvement even at the highest levels. The report, entitled “State of American Well-Being: 2015 Community Well-Being Rankings and Access to Care,” examines the comparative well-being of 190 communities across the nation.

Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida was the nation’s highest well-being community, followed closely by Salinas, California. Naples scores very highly in both purpose (4th) and social (6th) well-being and is particularly strong in community well-being, with a No. 1 placement in this element. Another Florida community, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, ranks No. 3 overall and is No. 1 in financial well-being. Corpus Christi, Texas is the No. 1 community for both purpose and social well-being, although lower rankings in other elements leave it at No. 35 overall. Boulder, Colorado, a community with the lowest level of obesity in the nation, is the No. 1 community for physical well-being. These and other select communities in Florida, California, Colorado and Texas are among the communities that lead in well-being, and communities from these four states account for 14 of the top 20 in the rankings.

On the other end of the spectrum, low well-being communities are spread out across a more geographically diverse group of states. However, Ohio claims five of the lowest 20 well-being communities. The lowest overall well-being community in the rankings, Charleston, West Virginia, also has the lowest physical well-being.

To discover where other communities — including yours —are ranked, download a copy of the report today. You can also subscribe to content from the Well-Being Index; by subscribing, we’ll let you know when we release new reports and insights from the Well-Being Index.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index uses a holistic definition of well-being and self-reported data from individuals across the globe to create a uniquely comprehensive view of societal progress on the elements that matter most to well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. Previous Gallup and Healthways research shows that high well-being closely relates to key health outcomes such as lower rates of healthcare utilization, lower workplace absenteeism and better workplace performance, change in obesity status and new onset disease burden.


Topics: Basic Access Community Rankings

New Study Demonstrates Impact of Care Transitions in Preventing Hospital Readmissions

Cameron Bowman

To circumvent the $17 billion in preventable readmissions costs paid by Medicare each year, financial incentives imposed by the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) now penalize hospital and healthcare providers for unnecessary or excessive readmissions for several common diagnoses. These conditions include heart failure, pneumonia, heart attack, COPD, elective hip or knee replacement procedures and, beginning in October 2016, coronary artery bypass grafting.

In the past year, over 2,500 hospitals nationwide received penalties amounting to $420 million because they did not meet HRRP requirements, and of those, 38 hospitals accrued the maximum possible penalty. In order to avoid punitive measures, healthcare providers are increasingly concerned with improving overall quality of care and reducing the rate of preventable hospital readmissions. A recent study published in the American Journal of Managed Care highlights the effectiveness of one solution aimed at lowering preventable readmissions through a comprehensive, patient-centric approach.

The Healthways Care Transitions Solution® demonstrated impressive results in real world analysis, reducing 30-day readmission risk by 25% overall and the odds of any readmission within six months by over half among program participants with readmission penalty conditions, including heart failure, heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or pneumonia. By addressing the underlying causes of preventable readmissions, rather than just managing the primary diagnosis, the program improved the overall health of patients and allowed hospitals to efficiently implement an effective approach to reduce the number of preventable hospital readmissions.

Through the use of science-based predictive modeling, the program is able to selectively deliver care to those patients at the highest risk of readmission prior to discharge. Additionally, trained clinicians complete follow-up interventions with patients telephonically to prevent readmissions post-discharge. The Healthways Care Transitions Solution represents the type of innovation that is increasingly in demand by health systems, physicians and patients.

Earning the exclusive endorsement of the American Hospital Association, the acute and post-acute care transitions management solutions provided by Healthways succeed not only in effectively navigating the shift from fee-for-service to value-based care, but also supports the interdisciplinary management of patients across the continuum of care.

For more information on the Healthways Care Transitions Solution, view our webinar or download our fact sheet.

To read the full study, click here.

Topics: Healthcare Trends in Healthcare Science and Research Care Transitions Solution

New Research Reveals State Rankings of Well-Being Nationwide

Cameron Bowman

Emphasis on well-being by community leaders, government, employers and other population health stakeholders has never been more prominent. Well-being captures how people feel about and experience their daily lives. It is directly correlated with important business and community metrics, such as healthcare utilization and cost, and productivity measures such as absenteeism and job performance. It is an effective gauge to assess and acknowledge environments where people can live their best lives and do their best work.

With the release of a new report from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, you can gain new insight into the state of well-being across the nation.


The report, “State of American Well-Being: 2015 State Rankings”, provides an overview of well-being trends within the United States. As in prior years, well-being in the U.S. exhibits regional patterns. The northern plains and mountain west are higher well-being areas, along with some western states and pockets of the northeast and Atlantic.  The lowest well-being states are in the south and move north through the industrial Midwest.

Hawaii reclaimed the top well-being spot among all states in the U.S. with Alaska, 2014’s top state, claiming the second spot. Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona and California rounded out the rest of the top 10. Kentucky and West Virginia continued to have the lowest well-being in the nation, ranking 49th and 50th, respectively, and have so for the past seven straight years.

To discover where other states — including yours — fall within the rankings, download a copy of the report today. You can also subscribe to content from the Well-Being Index. By subscribing, we’ll let you know when we release new research and insights from the Well-Being Index.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index uses a holistic definition of well-being and collects self-reported data from individuals across the globe to create a unique view of societies’ progress on the elements that matter most to well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. It is the most proven, mature and comprehensive measure of well-being in populations.

Topics: Well-Being Index State Rankings