Health department budget shouldn’t be decimated

Published 12:14 am Monday, March 27, 2017

I read recently that state lawmakers are proposing draconian cuts (again) in the budget of the Mississippi Health Department. As chairman of the House Public Health Committee, Rep. Sam Mims need not be “lectured” on some very disturbing facts about the heath status of Mississippians, in general, and persons in his district, in particular. Mississippi ranks last or near the bottom of most national rankings of health, economic and welfare indicators of the American people.

It is common knowledge that one’s health status is directly related to socio-economic conditions; thus poverty is a leading cause of many poor indicators of health. Poverty, in the opinion of respected public health professionals, is one of the reasons that ranks Mississippi (and Louisiana) so poorly in health status compared to other states.

So, instead of decimating a very valuable and essential state agency, I would encourage Rep. Mims to consider working with his House and Senate colleagues in improving the state’s anemic economic activity. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported recently that Mississippi has one of the worst areas of economic activity in the nation. That report shows that Mississippi’s 2016 economy grew a (sorry) 0.7 percent from 2015.

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I’ll end by quoting a June 6, 2016 editorial in The Natchez Democrat that urged lawmakers to help push Mississippi forward. Here it is: “Either Mississippi can realize its position at the absolute end of the (health and economic) line and put forth significant effort to improve or we will forever be doomed to be near the bottom of everything good in the nation.” Well said.
Mike Gemmell

Natchez resident