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Silver Lining For MN Kids During Bad Budget Environment

July 13, 2009

ST. PAUL, Minn. - There are some 85,000 children in Minnesota who often can't to go to a doctor when something ails them, because their caregivers can't afford it and don't have health care insurance coverage for their children. However, a new bill squeaked through this year's turbulent legislative session that provides health care to more than a quarter of those kids.

Jim Koppel of Children's Defense Fund Minnesota says that now, a family of three making less than 36,000 dollars a year can get health coverage for the child at no cost. Covering these needy children, says Koppel, is a wise investment.

"It's not only a cheap investment because children are cheaper to provide with health care coverage, but it also pays off with a whole lifetime of better health."

Koppel says the program could go into effect as soon as this winter, after federal approval.

Koppel says passage of the bill is a positive step forward in ensuring that all Minnesota children have guaranteed access to health care coverage.

"Similarly to the way we look at public education, every child needs to grow up educated, every child needs to grow up healthy. We need to make sure that there are no barriers blocking that path."

Once the measure is in effect, 22,000 children will be covered under the state-federal MinnesotaCare program, and have a quick renewal opportunity every year thereafter.

Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MN