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Health Leaders Say Social Issues Should Top Legislative Agenda

Indiana offers complete Medicaid coverage for tobacco cessation treatments , but the state still has the seventh highest smoking rate in the country.

Photo: MilitaryHealth (Flickr)

Health advocates plan to continue their efforts this session to reduce smoking and improve health care delivery.

Indiana health leaders gathered at a recent legislative conference and much of the discussion was focused on the social factors that play into Hoosier’s health.

Indiana ranks near the bottom for numerous health measures like obesity, smoking rates and drug overdose deaths. Statehouse agendas should speak to these core issues says Indiana Hospital Association president Brian Tabor.

“Our basic health metrics as a state and the fact that we’ve sort of underfunded the infrastructure there,” says Tabor.

Public health funding remains low in Indiana. Tabor, a member of the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana, says the coalition will push for health related legislation.

“That helps us reduce our use of tobacco as a state,” Tabor says. “Look for policies that help us improve how care is delivered, work more easily across the continuum of care.”

The panel also discussed changes coming to HIP 2.0 including a tobacco surcharge and increases in health savings accounts based on income.

Lawmakers are not expected to allocate more money this non-budget session.

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