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First Test for State Kids' Health Coverage Bill

January 16, 2007

A bill designed to provide all Minnesota kids access to affordable, quality health care faces a major test today before a legislative committee. Minnesota Children's Defense Fund spokeswoman Carole Specktor says good health is an essential building block for a successful life, and the "Children's Health Security Act" can help provide it.

"This bill would say, once a child is born, they would have healthcare coverage, and it would be quality, affordable healthcare coverage."

Specktor thinks Minnesota has been moving backwards on providing health care for children, and public officials need to turn that around.

"There's 68,000 uninsured children in Minnesota right now. That's actually an increase from 56,000, and that was over a three-year period. We also saw a significant jump in the number of uninsured children under the age of six."

Specktor notes the early years are the most critical for health care, because untreated problems impact development and last a lifetime. She says the bottom line is to ensure that Minnesota children have health care coverage, no matter where their parents work or how much they earn.

Specktor concludes that while the plan requires an investment, it will pay big dividends, because it would increase eligibility and reduce bureaucracy, which often prevent families from access to health care.

The bill is HF-1, a Senate companion bill is SF-15.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN