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Governor: Looking for "Healthy Kids" in Oregon

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007   


Oregon children are heading to the front of the class at the legislature this week as hearings begin on the Governor's proposed "Healthy Kids Plan." Governor Kulongoski testified Monday, saying the plan would provide health coverage for the almost 118,000 uninsured Oregon kids. Maribeth Healey with Oregonians for Health Security says this is a great way to begin easing the health care crisis in Oregon.

"There is great sentiment in the state capitol that the very first thing we should do is cover all children and then we can work on health insurance for the rest of us."

The plan is getting a boost of support from hunger advocates around the state. Rachel Bristol with Oregon Food Bank says they continue to see children across the state going hungry due in part to a lack of health insurance.

"It's a major factor behind a significant increase over the last few years in the number of working poor that are turning to the emergency food box system. We want to make sure we're keeping our kids healthy so they can learn in school."

The Governor says the state could pay for the "Healthy Kids Plan" with a controversial record increase to the cigarette tax. Critics say the 85 cents-a-pack increase is too steep. If it's approved, Oregon will be tied with Washington for the third highest cigarette taxes in the country.



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