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Senate GOP leader doubtful on fully funding Public Health Commission recommendation

The four legislative caucus leaders sit at tables - with a moderator standing between them at a lectern - at an event hosted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. 

The leaders are, from left to right, Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor, Senate Republican leader Rodric Bray, House Republican leader Todd Huston and House Democratic leader Phil GiaQuinta. Taylor is a Black man, bald with glasses and a goatee. Bray, Huston and GiaQuinta are all White men. Bray has dark hair and glasses. Huston has dark, curly hair. And GiaQuinta has brown hair and glasses.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
The four legislative caucus leaders discuss the 2023 session at an Indiana Chamber of Commerce event on Nov. 21, 2022. From left to right, the leaders are Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis), Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville), Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) and Rep. Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne).

The full funding recommendation from the governor’s Public Health Commission may be on life support before the legislative session even begins.

Legislative leaders previewed the session at an Indiana Chamber of Commerce event Monday.

Indiana has one of the unhealthiest populations in the country by just about any metric. And the governor created a commission to produce recommendations to improve Indiana’s public health system.

One of its key proposals: $240 million a year for public health in the state budget.

READ MORE: Governor’s Public Health Commission issues final report with $240M price tag, following study

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Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) balked at that price tag.

“I’m not even sure, if we sent that kind of money to our local health departments, that they would be able to handle that well,” Bray said.

House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) wasn't so quick to dismiss the $240 million recommendation.

"I just want to make sure the additional investments are used in a way that are consistent with the current investments we're making and that they have clear, measurable outcomes," Huston said.

Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said the government needs to step up to improve Indiana’s poor health record.

“Until we just focus on the fact that poor people have a lack of access to health care, we’re going to struggle and we’re going to continue to struggle,” Taylor said.

The session begins in January.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.