Nick Krieger (@nckrieger):
One of the most basic responsibilities of state government is protecting the public health. Of course, Michigan no longer has a public health department. Governor Rick Snyder eliminated it last year when he merged it with the state's department of human services, creating an immense, complex bureaucracy.
As I predicted last winter, it seems that the huge new department has lost some of its critical focus on public health. Among other things, this likely contributed to the severity of the Legionella outbreak in Flint.
But never fear! Since we no longer have a state department that focuses exclusively on health, Rick "Big Government" Snyder has decided to create a new 24-member Public Health Commission to advise him on health issues and recommend ways to improve public health in Michigan. It's just the latest in a long line of Snyder's newly created commissions -- many of which have been specifically formed to address problems that Snyder himself caused. All 24 members of the commission will be appointed by the Governor, and the commission will be directly under the Governor's personal control.
Call me crazy, but maybe it's worth asking whether Michigan should reestablish its state health department.