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A Presidential "Candidate" for MA Kids?

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 By Kevin Clay/Eric Mack, Contact
March 12, 2007


A recent poll says child healthcare is a top priority for Massachusetts voters, and there might be a presidential "candidate" to help the problem in 2008. According to the poll released last week by the New England Alliance for Children's Health, 80 percentin Massachusetts said there is no funding priority more important than child healthcare. The Children's Defense Fund has a presidential candidate running on that platform alone -- ten-year-old Susie Flynn. Neel Lattimore from the Children's Defense Action Fund says while Flynn can't be elected into office, she can encourage other campaigns to focus on children.

"It really is remarkable that we talk about children being our future but they're the most underrepresented constituency that exists in the United States."

Lattimore says it costs less to insure children than any other group of people, yet there are an estimated nine million children without healthcare in the United States. The Medicaid children's health program, called "S-CHIP," is up for reauthorization in Congress this year.

Massachusetts is one of fifteen states facing Medicaid budget shortfalls right now. Amy Rosenthal with The New England Alliance for Children's Health, says Congress needs to make sure federal funding meets the needs of Massachusetts kids.

"There's the bigger discussion which is how will the S-CHIP program be reauthorized, and what will be in it, and what kind of funding will be dedicated to that. That will help us look forward into the next five years."

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