Another Perspective: States Need to Increase Public Health Spending by 65%

Indiana was ranked fifth higher than the previous year in business channel CNBC’s annual list released on August 1. Hoosier State performed well in 2022 in her three categories: infrastructure, cost of doing business, and cost of living. In 2021 he was 19th and this year he is up to 14th.

State business rankings are a source of pride for legislators and governors. Gov. Eric Holcomb can boast nine consecutive balanced budgets, Indiana’s triple-A credit rating, and billions of dollars in reserves.

But when it comes to public health, Indiana performs worse than other states. Sharecare, an Atlanta-based digital healthcare company, has partnered with the Boston University School of Public Health to rank Indiana his 41st on its 2021 list of the healthiest states.

Last August, Holcomb created the governor’s public health commission and tasked its 15 members with examining the strengths and weaknesses of Indiana’s public health system and making recommendations for improvement.

Last week, the Commission submitted a 107-page report to Holcomb. It advocates the initiation of a health workforce plan to alleviate shortages, increased access to state data for local health departments, the establishment of strategic equipment stockpiles, and an increase of about 65% in public health spending. Did.

Indiana ranks 48th in the Public Health Fund, spending about $55 per Hoosier, $36 less than the national average of $91 per person. The Commission hopes to close the funding gap of $36 per resident at a cost of approximately $243 million.

Programs that address issues related to infant mortality, smoking, obesity, and child health inconsistently top the list of services provided due to lack of funding at the county level.

Commission co-chairman Luke Kenley, former chairman of the state Senate Appropriations Committee, emphasized that transparency played an important role in the commission’s process. We held listening sessions and read all comments received online or in public meetings. The former senator even reported to lawmakers after each listening session.

Holcomb should participate fully in Public Health Commission funding and other recommendations.

County health departments are among the 10 lowest per capita spending departments in the nation. Its personnel are ill-equipped to deal with the communicable diseases we face today, including COVID-19, monkeypox, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Increased funding and sustainability, more staffing, and better trained public health workers can lead to better public health outcomes, and the cost of preventive care is reduced to the sequelae of disease. Much less than you have to deal with.

Such improvements could boost economic development, and Indiana could become one of America’s top ‘business states’ in the future, according to the study.

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