Governors across the country want their residents to live long, healthy, and productive lives. Residents’ life conditions — such as their neighborhoods, education, and income — make up 80 percent of the factors affecting their health, yet most health spending goes primarily to clinical care (Slide 2). As stewards of public resources and bound by balanced budget requirements, governors look for smart investments that can ease health care costs, avoid lost productivity, and make their states one of the healthiest (Slides 3 and 4.)
Transition teams are now at work helping new governors make crucial choices not only about their budget priorities, but also about what type of leadership team can put those priorities into action. Hiring and budget decisions are at the heart of a transition team’s work, and they have important implications for health and prevention.
Maximize Existing Resources
State agencies currently invest in a range of policies that promote health, such as safe and affordable housing, early childhood education, or Tobacco 21 policies, but those programs can be poorly coordinated. Evidence shows that these upstream prevention policies help people become and stay healthy, instead of treating people after they become sick. New administrations can align existing investments across state agencies with a state’s health and budget priorities [Slide 5].
Build Teams that Collaborate
Officials across state agencies and departments carry out important health-related policies and programs. This work is not the sole jurisdiction of a state’s health department. For example:
- Housing departments can help advance health by ensuring people are stably housed;
- Transportation departments can build safe walking and biking routes; and
- State attorneys general offices can help ensure investment in healthy neighborhoods.
New administrations can adopt a government-wide strategy to improve health that engages all state agencies (See Slide 6). NASHP will continue to develop tools and resources to support administrations interested in using upstream prevention policies to promote health and control costs.
Explore NASHP’s Six Slides to Help New Governors Improve Health.
Produced in partnership with the de Beaumont Foundation.