Government Spending In Health And Nonhealth Sectors Associated With Improvement In County Health Rankings

Investments in a Culture of Health

This article is included in the November 2016 special issue of Health Affairs featuring early findings on the contribution of non-health public spending to a Culture of Health.

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In this article, authors J. Mac McCullough of Arizona State University and Jonathon P. Leider of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tracked the impact of health government spending related to health and government spending on non-health social services over time. They found significant positive associations between public spending and the County Health Rankings for a number of social services, including community health care and public health, public hospitals, fire protection, K–12 education, corrections, libraries, and housing and community development. This research helps fill a gap in evidence demonstrating the impact of non-health spending on improved health outcomes at the local level. This information could help guide policy makers’ prioritization of expenditures to maximize health promotion and disease prevention within their communities. A related report, recently released by Leavitt Partners and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, lays out recommendations for advancing the measurement of total investments being made to produce health.