The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 2:36 pm

Lawmakers considering early return to enable end to public health emergency

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS -- State lawmakers might return for one day in December to pass statutory changes needed for Gov. Eric Holcomb to end the public health emergency.

Speaker Todd Huston said that possibility -- and other options -- are still being discussed.

Holcomb said Tuesday that his staff reviewed the situation and found three things are needed to responsibly end the emergency. The emergency currently expires at the end of the month.

“To carry this out, I am working with Senator (Rodric) Bray and Speaker Huston to consider passing three key statutory changes to continue protecting Hoosiers by allowing for the continuation of enhanced federal matching funds for Medicaid expenditures, the continuation of the enhanced benefit for those receiving federal food assistance and extend the ability to efficiently vaccinate our 5- to 11-year-olds,” Holcomb said.

Huston said there is general agreement on these three items but there could be more.

He said ending the emergency is more symbolic than just the piece of paper the executive order is written on.

“A lot of us feel like, you know, we need to move forward,” he said, noting Hoosiers’ weariness of COVID-19.

Huston said it is time to move from a government response to individual responsibility -- especially with vaccines, boosters and improved therapeutics.

He added that getting cases to zero isn’t a possibility -- “how do you navigate in a world where you manage risk appropriately, and that's what we're trying to do.”

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