Holcomb wants to rebuild Indiana’s public health system ‘from the ground up’

Indiana governor wants to increase health spending by $347 million
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 6:38 PM EST
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(WNDU) - The State of Indiana appears to be in better fiscal health than physical health.

Gov. Eric Holcomb says the state needs to get healthier, “but suffice it to say, we’re going to have to do something different if we want a different outcome.”

The governor says the state’s system of public health is more than 100 years old and he wants to rebuild it from the ground up.

Holcomb’s proposed budget released on Wednesday would increase spending on public health by $347 million over the next two years. Most of the money would go to help fund local health initiatives in local communities.

“So, we’re building it from the ground up, where the action is occurring in the districts. And we think that this is going to be a way, in the planning, in the building of the structure, in the participation, locals having skin in the game, too,” Holcomb said. “This is 80-20 (funding match state to local), working in a number of areas across our administration that we can, in fact, start improving on our health outcomes.”

This week, South Bend Mayor James Mueller decided to go at it alone to establish a mental health behavioral crisis center, even though St. Joseph County backed off as a financial partner.

We know now what the mayor apparently knew then.

“These are healthy levels of funding that would make a big difference in communities like South Bend,” Mueller said. “There’s been a lot of talk about maintaining local control of health departments and health policies. And so, we know that’s a priority for a lot of cities and counties, so that’s just a recognition of where folks are. So, this, what they’re looking to do would respect the local control but provide the resources necessary in order to make the community better.”

Of course, the legislative is just the beginning. The budget bill has a long way to go.