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Indiana Legislative Update: Maybe a Spoonful of Sugar Will Help (nod to Julie Andrews)

The Health Care Task Force has spent the summer hearing from experts on various ways that state government policies could impact competitiveness, quality, and cost of healthcare delivery in the state. The most recent meeting focused on the state’s highly consolidated health care industry and debating the line between free markets and monopolies in our hospital systems. Another meeting reviewed differences in costs for similar services delivered in different communities

While high healthcare costs continue to be a focus for legislators, the best way to reduce those costs are still not entirely clear. The Committee will meet once more on November 13th where they will discuss any recommendations they believe the legislature should consider this coming session. 

It was a relatively surprising move in the spring when the Legislative Council assigned the topic of childcare to the Interim Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services, but the Chair and members took the assignment seriously and spent more time on this issue than either of their other more minor healthcare issues. 

The Committee’s Report includes several recommendations to the full Legislature for consideration in the coming Session. They include: 

  1. Strengthening the requirements and the timeline for the Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC) to evaluate existing regulations for child care providers and for the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to initiate rule changes based on the findings. 
  2. Addressing the shortfall of qualified early care and education workers through improvements in tuition support and public subsidy options for child care workers and reducing the employment age.
  3. Expanding access to child care in hard-to-serve areas through pilot programs and improvements in the background check processes. 
  4. Ensuring policymakers have improved information about the utilization and sufficiency of child care subsidies and their intersection with economic and workforce development strategies. 

As more and more employers recognize the availability and cost of child care as an impediment to many Hoosiers returning to work, these recommendations are supported by most business organizations, including E-REP.

The Legislature approved funding for grants in the most recent budget to expand child care options. Businesses and nonprofits interested in applying for the grants can learn more here. Some grants were just announced this week and more money is on the table for those still interested.