INDIANAPOLIS─This week, State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) successfully advocated for two policy proposals that will specifically target racial disparities in Indiana’s health care. House Bill (HB) 1007 establishes the State Health Improvement Plan and Grant Program, which is charged with preparing a plan to prevent and reduce the prevalence of health issues, including critical health issues which disproportionately affect minority communities. HB 1001, the state’s biennial budget, included $100,000 for the Indiana Minority Health Coalition to help Black Hoosiers, who are receiving inoculations at a lower rate than other racial groups, get information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Senator Breaux released the following statement on the passage of these two pieces of legislation:

“Indiana is ranked 48th in the nation for public health spending and 43rd for accessibility for preventive services. With HB 1007, we’re investing significant funds to find out where our gaps in service exist and why people aren’t accessing such critical health services, then acting on that information. This will seriously improve the quality of life for a significant number of Hoosiers,” Sen. Breaux said. “But this bill goes even further. Chronic diseases are responsible for seven in ten deaths each year, and Black Hoosiers face higher rates of hypertension, obesity, diabetes and chronic kidney disease than our white counterparts. Dedicating real resources to addressing these illnesses is historic, and it will save lives. I’m proud to have played a role in the success of this bill to address long-time health disparities in our communities.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we saw the race discrepancies we often see in health care start to repeat themselves all over again. Of the total population in Indiana that is fully vaccinated, only 5.5% are Black, even though we make up almost 10% of the state’s population. This points to historic distrust of government in our communities and even lack of access to vaccine sites,” said Sen. Breaux. “That is why it is so important that the Indiana Minority Health Coalition (IMHC) received $100,000 in the most recent version of the budget to help educate communities of color on the importance of getting this vaccine and where they can go to receive it. While the budget still has one more amendment process to go through, I will continue to advocate that this language stays in.”