Are State Health Mandates reducing Jobs? Best and Worst States for Driving Up Healthcare Costs

Health Care Costs are Rising.  Jobs are scarce. 

Should states be putting more burdens on employers that decrease their ability to hire? What states are making employees more expensive to hire?

The  Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council  publishes an annual  “State Health Care Policy Cost Index.”

If you are an employer you should pay close attention to this study as it identifies the Best and Worst States for Health mandates that drive up health insurance costs.

Idaho is the Best State for Health Care Cost PolicyMassachusetts is the Worst State for Health Care Cost Policy.  Rounding out the Top 5 Best States are Utah, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio.  The bottom 5 includes Washington, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont.

Employers are finding it harder to afford health care costs for employees.  Employers looking for the Best State to hire employees will consider the costs of health insurance.  If you are looking for the Best States for Job Growth this list may matter.
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State                   HSA      GI          CR             M     P/P       Score

1 Idaho 0 0 0.33 0.75 0 1.08
2 Utah 0 0 0.33 1.15 0 1.48
3 Iowa 0 0 0.33 1.25 0 1.58
4 Michigan 0 0 0.33 1.3 0 1.63
4 Ohio 0 0 0.33 1.3 0 1.63
6 Alaska 0 0 0.33 1.4 0 1.73
7 South Carolina 0 0 0.33 1.45 0 1.78
8 South Dakota 0 0 0.33 1.55 0 1.88
9 Pennsylvania 0 0 0 1.9 0 1.9
10 Nebraska 0 0 0.33 1.6 0 1.93
10 Wyoming 0 0 0.33 1.6 0 1.93
12 Dist. Of Columbia 1 0 0 0.95 0 1.95
13 Kentucky 0 0 0.33 1.65 0 1.98
14 North Dakota 0 0 0.33 1.7 0 2.03
15 Oklahoma 0 0 0.33 1.8 0 2.13
16 Kansas 0 0 0.33 1.85 0 2.18
17 West Virginia 0 0 0.33 1.9 0 2.23
18 Missouri 0 0 0.33 1.95 0 2.28
18 Alabama 1 0 0.33 0.95 0 2.28
20 Illinois 0 0 0.33 2 0 2.33
20 Montana 0 0 0.33 2 0 2.33
20 Tennessee 0 0 0.33 2 0 2.33
23 Arkansas 0 0 0.33 2.05 0 2.38
23 Georgia 0 0 0.33 2.05 0 2.38
25 Oregon 0 0 0.66 1.8 0 2.46
26 Louisiana 0 1 0.33 2.15 0 2.48
27 Delaware 0 0 0.33 1.25 0 2.58
28 Virginia 0 1 0 2.75 0 2.75
29 Arizona 0 1 0.33 1.45 0 2.78
29 Mississippi 0 0 0.33 1.45 0 2.78
31 New Mexico 0 0 0.33 2.55 0 2.88
32 Nevada 0 0 0.33 2.6 0 2.93
33 Texas 0 0 0.33 2.7 0 3.03
33 Wisconsin 1 1 0.33 1.7 0 3.03
35 Hawaii 0 0 0 1.15 1 3.15
36 Indiana 1 0 0.33 1.85 0 3.18
37 Minnesota 0 1 0.33 3.2 0 3.53
38 New Hampshire 0 1 0.66 1.95 0 3.61
39 North Carolina 0 1 0.33 2.35 0 3.68
39 Rhode Island 0 1 0.33 2.35 0 3.68
41 Florida 0 0 0.33 2.4 0 3.73
42 New York 0 0 1 2.75 0 3.75
43 New Jersey 1 1 0.66 2.1 0 3.76
44 Colorado 0 0 0.33 2.45 0 3.78
45 Maryland 0 0 0.66 3.15 0 3.81
46 California 1 1 0.33 2.5 0 3.83
47 Vermont 0 1 0.66 1.35 1 4.01
48 Connecticut 0 1 0.66 2.55 0 4.21
49 Maine 0 1 0.66 2.65 0 4.31
49 Washington 0 1 0.66 2.65 0 4.31
51 Massachusetts 0 0.66 2.15 1 4.81

Source:  The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s Small Business Policy Series Analysis #33 February 2009
HSA-Health Saving Account Deductions, GI- Guaranteed Issue for Self Employed, CR-Community Rating Mandate, M- Number of Mandates
P/P- Play to Pay Mandate

States will be looking to attract businesses to grow and relocate in the current economic climate in order to drive job opportunities and tax revenue.  They are reviewing how to increase incentives. Reducing State health care mandates will make it more attractive for employers to hire.

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Best and Worst States for Smart Drivers, Kansas Best, New Jersey Worst

GMAC does an annual study of state rankings for the Best and Worst States for driver knowledge.

Kansas drivers are rated the most knowledgeable. Wyoming, Nebraska, Idaho and Minnesota round out the top 5 Best States respectively. New Jersey is Worst State for knowledgeable drivers.  DC, New York, Massachusetts and Georgia are rated along with New Jersey as the 5 Worst States.

The study was done by administering a 20 question to test to 5,524 licensed drivers and ranking the results by state.  The Midwest has
the most knowledgeable drivers while the Northeast had the lowest scores and highest exam failure rates.  For more detail go to

We will take a look in another post whether state insurance rates are associated with driver knowledge.

Best and Worst States for Knowledgeable Drivers 2008

1          Kansas
2          Wyoming
3          Nebraska
4          Idaho
5          Minnesota
6          Arkansas
6          South Dakota
8          Oregon
9          Iowa
9          Washington
11        Indiana
12        Wisconsin
13        Utah
14        Missouri
15        Alabama
15        Colorado
15        Montana
18        Michigan
18        Texas
18        Vermont
21        North Dakota
22        Arkansas
22        North Carolina
22        New Mexico
22        Oklahoma
26        Delaware
26        Ohio
28        Florida
29        Kentucky
30        New Hampshire
31        Maine
32        Illinois
33        California
33        Connecticut
33        Tennessee
36        Arizona
36        Nevada
36        Pennsylvania
39        South Carolina
40        Vermont
41        Rhode Island
42        Maryland
43        West Virginia
44        Louisiana
45        Hawaii
46        Mississippi
47        Georgia
48        Massachusetts
49        New York
50        District of Columbia
51        New Jersey

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State Unemployment Up in Every State in the Union, Wyoming Best, Michigan Worst State

State Unemployment Up in Every State in the Union, Wyoming Best, Michigan Worst State

State Unemployment Up in Every State of the Union

Michigan Surges to 10.6%.  Wyoming has lowest unemployment in nation at 3.4%.  Rhode Island  is the only other state with over 10.0%. California at 9.3% leaves millions of Californians unemployed. 

Texas was the only state that recorded a statistically significant year on year increase in the number of people working.  Employment increased by 153,000.   The largest statistically significant month over month decreases in employment were experienced in California (-78,000), Michigan (-59,000), New York (-54,000) and Illinois (-36,000).  Losing states show up in a number of areas for being unattractive to business.  See some of our other posts for info on state tax burdens, unionionization rates and attractiveness for business.

If you are looking for a job, the low unemployment states may provide work but you must be careful to understand the kind of industries and work that is available for your skill sets.  Most states have differing industries and worker needs.  Unemployment for December 2008  is listed below for all 50 states and District of Columbia.  The national unemployment rate is now at 7.2%

     Rank       State                                                                                                                                                                  

1 WYOMING 3.4
2 NORTH DAKOTA 3.5
3 SOUTH DAKOTA 3.9
4 NEBRASKA 4.0
5 UTAH 4.3
6 IOWA 4.6
6 NEW HAMPSHIRE 4.6
8 NEW MEXICO 4.9
8 OKLAHOMA 4.9
8 WEST VIRGINIA 4.9
11 KANSAS 5.2
12 MONTANA 5.4
12 VIRGINIA 5.4
14 HAWAII 5.5
15 MARYLAND 5.8
16 LOUISIANA 5.9
17 TEXAS 6.0
18 COLORADO 6.1
19 ARKANSAS 6.2
19 DELAWARE 6.2
19 WISCONSIN 6.2
22 IDAHO 6.4
22 VERMONT 6.4
24 ALABAMA 6.7
24 PENNSYLVANIA 6.7
26 ARIZONA 6.9
26 MASSACHUSETTS 6.9
26 MINNESOTA 6.9
29 MAINE 7.0
29 NEW YORK 7.0
31 CONNECTICUT 7.1
31 NEW JERSEY 7.1
31 WASHINGTON 7.1
34 MISSOURI 7.3
35 ALASKA 7.5
36 ILLINOIS 7.6
37 KENTUCKY 7.8
37 OHIO 7.8
39 TENNESSEE 7.9
40 MISSISSIPPI 8.0
41 FLORIDA 8.1
41 GEORGIA 8.1
43 INDIANA 8.2
44 NORTH CAROLINA 8.7
45 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 8.8
46 OREGON 9.0
47 NEVADA 9.1
48 CALIFORNIA 9.3
49 SOUTH CAROLINA 9.5
50 RHODE ISLAND 10.0
51 MICHIGAN 10.6

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best and Worst Electricity Rates by State

Your electric bill is typically more than your gasoline bills. It can be even higher depending on the state you live.
The Energy Information Administration releases official energy statistics from the U.S. government.  Their site is www.eia.doe.gov.

Best States for Electricity (lowest rates)

1.  Idaho               7.3
2.  West Virginia    7.41
3.  Kentucky          7.82
3.  Washington      7.82
5.  Missouri           8.34

Worst States for Electricity  (highest rates)

50.  Hawaii            36.94
49.  Connecticut     20.24
48.  New York        19.42
47.  Rhode Island   18.13
46.  Massachusetts 17.85

Rates (cents per kilowatthour) were published in mid December 2008 and are residential rates for the month of September 2008.

The U.S. average is 11.94 up 9.1% from the previous year.

The Northeast has the highest rates.   If you are on a fixed income living, picking the best state to retire in can save a bundle.

Best and Worst States to Work

Depending on the state you live, you may have more difficulty working in your desired occupation.  Licensing rules make it harder for people to work as in many cases you must spend money for licensing before knowing if you have work.  It limits supply of workers by making it harder for workers to get a job.  Reason Magazine’s study of Occupational licensing highlights states’ occupational licensing requirements.  They even list the “Most Outrageous Licensing Laws.”  Can you imagine that you must have license to be a florist in Louisiana?  No other state does that!  Can you imagine that you must have a license to be a junkyard dealer in Ohio?  No other state has that requirement.  If you travel into Vermont as a photographer you must have a license.  Yet if you live in Vermont you are qualified.  And in Iowa you must have a license to be a munure applicator.  I wonder if there is a special course you can take online to qualify for that!!!!  Licensing requirements hurt workers.  The Best and Worst States follow.  Go to www.reason.org/news/occupational_licensing_rankings_082407.shtml for the full report.

Worst States to Work                         # Job Licenses

1.  California                                                             177
2.  Connecticut                                                         155
3.  Maine                                                                 134
4.  New Hampshire                                                   130
5.  Arkansas                                                             128

Best States to Work

1.  Missouri                                                              41
2.  Washington                                                         43
3.  Kansas                                                               56
4.  South Carolina                                                    60
5.  Idaho                                                                 61