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Governor calls Cover All Kids legislation a take-home issue, urges legislators to make kids a priority
(Salem, Ore.)— At a rally held today at the Oregon State Capitol, Oregon Governor Kate Brown spoke in support of the bill known as “Cover All Kids”, calling for the legislature to ensure all Oregon children have the same access to health care.
House Bill 2726 and Senate Bill 558 will extend health care coverage through the Oregon Health Plan to all kids. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Alonso Leon, Hernandez, Huffman and Olson and by Senators Kruse, Boquist, Monnes Anderson, and Roblan.
“As Oregonians we know health care coverage is foundational,” Governor Brown said. “Today, we stand together to ensure that all Oregon children have access to health care 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.
Governor Brown, a strong proponent of the Cover All Kids legislation, prioritized funding to extend coverage for every child in Oregon in her 2017-19 budget and also testified in the House Committee on Health Care in support of the bill.
“It is our duty to ensure that our youngest Oregonians have the tools to grow into healthy adults, and to access to education, health care, and a bright future,” Governor Brown said. “Cover All Kids gives us an opportunity to fulfill this duty.”
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.
Governor Brown was joined by Representatives Hernandez, Huffman, Keny-Guyer and Alonso Leon.
“By investing in every kid who calls Oregon home, we will correct a longstanding injustice in our health care system,” said Rep Alonso Leon. “It also means that children will get the preventative care they need to stay healthy and a medical emergency won’t turn into a family bankruptcy.”
“It’s time for Oregon to take one step closer to a stronger and more equitable economy, where every child has the health care he or she needs to reach their full potential. By covering all kids, we will ensure that all children are on the path to a stronger, healthier future," said Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer.
More than 200 supporters attended the rally organized by the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, which represents nearly a hundred organizations that have backed Cover All Kids, including community based organizations, CCOs, insurers, hospitals, educators, labor unions and community members.
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.
In March, the Senate Committee on Health Care passed Senate Bill 558 and the bill now awaits its next hearing in the Ways and Means Committee.