The United States spends more money on healthcare than other developed countries, yet experiences significantly worse health outcomes. But, understanding healthcare spending alone is not enough. While the importance of nonmedical barriers to health, such as lack of adequate housing, education, transportation is well known, how social spending affects health outcomes is less clear. This study will examine total government spending across both medical care and social service sectors in order to characterize the impact of such spending on health outcomes and disparities. The research team will create a novel longitudinal dataset that merges medical, public health, social services and community service governmental spending with population health outcomes. Based on U.S. Census of State and Local Governmental Finance data, this new dataset will allow researchers to examine public spending across medical, public health, social and community service sectors at both the state and county levels. Findings from this work will engage cross-sector stakeholders in conversations about aligning public spending to achieve better health and reduced health disparities.
Beth Resnick, DrPH, MPH, and David Bishai, MD, MPH, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health