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House Bill 2726 promotes children’s health, ensures all kids have equal access to health care as a basic human right
(Salem, Ore.)— Oregon Governor Kate Brown testified today before the House Committee on Health Care in support of the bill known as “Cover All Kids”, emphasizing her commitment to ensure all Oregon children have the same opportunity to grow up healthy. House Bill 2726 will extend healthcare coverage through the Oregon Health Plan to all Oregon kids.
The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Alonso Leon, Gilliam, Hernandez, Huffman and Olson and by Senators Boquist, Monnes Anderson, and Roblan.
"It is our duty to ensure that our youngest Oregonians have the tools to grow into healthy adults with access to education, health care, and a bright future," Governor Kate Brown said. "Oregon children should have the opportunity to be healthy and ready to learn, and Oregon families should feel confident that a medical event will not dramatically change the trajectory of their lives."
When children have access to health care through Medicaid, studies show they have improved education outcomes and higher incomes later in life. The proposed Cover All Kids legislation will promote the health of all Oregon children and put every child on the pathway to success.
A broad coalition joined Governor Brown in support of the bill, including: Representative John Huffman; Former Representative Vic Gilliam; Dr. Resa Bradeen, Medical Director for Children’s Services at Oregon Region Providence Health System; Laura Etherton, State and Federal Policy Director for Oregon Primary Care Association; and Fatima Preciado, an 18 year old Portland State University student who is a DACA recipient and grew up without adequate health coverage.
Over the past decade, Oregon has made significant strides toward ensuring every child has access to quality, affordable health care. However, more than 17,000 kids are currently excluded from Oregon Health Plan because of their residency status.
“These kids represent the future of Oregon,” said Linda Roman, Director of Health Policy & Government Relations for Oregon Latino Health Coalition. “This policy will make sure that every child in every classroom across the state is covered. Now is the time for Oregon to stand up for our core value of healthy children and invest in all our kids.”
The Oregon Latino Health Coalition represents nearly a hundred organizations that have backed the effort to expand access to health care for all Oregon kids, including community based organizations, CCOs, insurers, hospitals, educators, labor unions and community members.
“Because my siblings and I lacked proper health insurance, we were denied the right to live a normal childhood. Fear and worry instead consumed my every day childhood,” said Preciado. “My mother struggled severely when it came to purchasing my sister’s medication. There were times when my sister went weeks without medication, causing her to suffer severe uncontrollable epileptic seizures.”
Growing up healthy is a challenge for Oregon children who lack health insurance, and health insurance is a key factor in determining whether children receive the medical care they need. Studies show that uninsured children are much more likely than insured children to forgo necessary medical care due to costs, and much more likely to have unmet medical needs.
On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Health Care will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 558, a companion bill introduced in the Oregon Senate,