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Health Insurance for MN Kids - A Right or a Privilege?

January 12, 2007

The Children's Defense Fund says it's time for the country to make sure all kids have health insurance. The organization has launched a national drive to get policymakers to make sure that happens. Spokesman Jim Koppel with the Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota says the current variety of program coverage leaves 9 million kids out, and millions more underinsured.

"We are launching a national campaign to take care of the problem with a comprehensive solution of health care for every child in America."

He says it includes consolidating all current federal programs to make them more efficient, and easing family income eligibility. The drive is aimed at Congress, as it considers reauthorizing an existing plan that already covers 30 million kids called the "State Children's Health Insurance Program."

Koppel says there's strong support for making sure all kids, whatever their economic circumstances, can count on affordable health care.

"Between 75 and 90 percent of the public supports comprehensive coverage for every child in America that ensures every child has the health care access they need to grow up healthy. This is going to provide that mechanism. It's affordable, it's needed, it'll pay off for a lifetime, and we need to do it this year."

A Minnesota-run petition drive is underway to show support for the plan. Spokesman Patrick Ness with Catholic Charities of Minnesota says the goal is to collect 9 million signatures, matching the number of uninsured kids. He calls it a matter of morality.

"This is an issue of the common good. It's about human dignity and Americans lifting up children as our future and saying 'we can do better as the richest, most powerful country in the world.' We should not have 9 million uninsured children."

Ness says the drive is church-based, and the petitions will be sent to policymakers to show public support for making sure all kids, whatever their parents' income, get the best health care available.

More online at

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN