Grand Junction, McAllen contrasted: Better health brings lower costs

While Grand Junction has some of the highest-quality and lowest-cost heathcare in the nation, McAllen, Tex., has some of the lowest-quality and highest-cost. According to disease rates calculated by Daniel Gilden in "The Health Care Blog," McAllen is twice as unhealthy as Grand Junction.

That raises a question: Is Grand Junction merely lucky in a healthier population, or is its emphasis on prevention and coverage of the poor actually having a major effect on preventing these illnesses?

Below is Gilden's comparison of diseases -- ranging from diabetes to heart disease and arthritis -- between residents of the counties surrounding Grand Junction and McAllen.

Disease Prevalence among Medicare recipients, 2006