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A Call for Health Care Reform at NH Martin Luther King Day Address

January 21, 2008

Hanover, NH - Civil rights advocate Marian Wright Edelman is the keynote speaker for today's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Dartmouth College. With the issues of health care and education near the top of the nation's agenda this year, Edelman says it's part of Dr. King's legacy to stand up for those who can't –- especially children.

"Let them see that they can rely on us as adults. Let our nation show that our nation will take care of its smallest citizens and give them their basic needs."

Edelman is the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, which backed the Congressionally-approved expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). President Bush repeatedly vetoed the program, however, citing concerns about its cost and possible adverse impact on the private insurance market.

The Endowment for Health estimates that more than 130,000 New Hampshire residents have no health insurance coverage. Edelman believes statistics like that should spur people into action, much like Dr. King wanted to see.

"In this wonderful observance of Dr. King's birthday, in which the nation is engaged, it is so important that we follow him, rather than simply celebrate him."

Edelman's speech is scheduled for 7:00 PM at Spaulding Auditorium, in the Hopkins Center in Hanover. To learn more about Edelman and the work of the Children's Defense Fund, visit its Web site,

John Robinson/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NH