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State of the State Reactions on Children, Health and Smoking

January 31, 2007

In his State of the State address, Governor Doyle laid out his top priorities for the year, and children's issues topped the list. He made a big push for his Badger Care Plus plan, which would expand Medicaid coverage to more children and families. Charity Eleson with the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families says covering all Wisconsin children should be a top priority.

"Coverage for all kids is well within our reach. The Governor's Badger Care Plus plan is something that offers that coverage."

Doyle also called for smaller class sizes for kindergarten through third grade, a boost in funding for school breakfasts, and a new department to streamline social services for kids. He outlined his plan to cut smoking in Wisconsin, including a tax increase on tobacco, funding for prevention programs, and a statewide public smoking ban. Maureen Busalacchi is director of Smoke-Free Wisconsin.

"He is using the most effective policies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. If this were to pass, the burden of tobacco on our citizens would drop significantly."

The Governor also called for more affordable health coverage for uninsured adults, by expanding eligibility for Medicaid coverage, and allowing uninsured Wisconsinites to buy into the program as well. Gail Sumi with AARP-Wisconsin says that would lower health care costs in the state, by allowing currently uninsured Wisconsinites to get treatment when they need it and not when it's too late.

"All of us pay for the people who are currently uninsured. And those people pay a huge cost in the fact that they don't have access to health insurance. We know the toll that takes on their families and society as a whole."

Rob Ferrett/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - WI