As we head into another budget season, my mind and heart are on the kids and families in Flint and all of those without adequate healthcare. I think the following image well displays what I believe is needed in state policy.
According to County Health Rankings and Roadmaps …
“…within each state across the country there are significant differences in health outcomes according to where people live, learn, work and play. It is clear that not all Americans have the means and opportunity to be their healthiest.
“Giving everyone a fair chance to be healthy does not necessarily mean offering everyone the same resources to be healthy, but rather offering people specific resources necessary for their good health. For example, consider three children of different heights. Offering them all the same size bench to stand on would mean that shorter children do not have a fair chance to see over the wall. Offering each child a bench to stand on that is the right size for their height gives all children a fair chance to see over the wall.
“Health gaps can exist in many dimensions—for residents across neighboring county lines, or between various groups within a community according to race, ethnicity, age, income, education or sexual orientation, among others.”
As a state, we need to determine what resources are needed to give everyone a fair chance to be healthy. The Flint water crisis provides a prime example of how additional resources are required to establish a level playing field and help those with greatest need.
The governor’s Executive Budget, being released on February 10th, will provide the governor’s recommendation for the policies and distribution of resources to help Michiganians be healthy. These policy and budget recommendations will provide the basis for the legislative action which will follow.
Policymakers will have tough choices to make in how they invest or disinvest in the health of the people of Michigan. But now more than ever, I hope they can put party and district lines aside and do what is right for all Michiganians, in Flint and statewide.
— Jan Hudson