[Comm-Council] FW: NEWS RELEASE: Governor presses for health care for all kids
KENNEDY Robert * DAS DO
Robert.Kennedy at state.or.us
Thu Jun 15 15:45:12 PDT 2006
Governor <<Picture (Metafile)>>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2006
Lonn Hoklin (503.378.6169 or 503.559.1034)
Mary Ellen Glynn (503.378.4656)
Governor presses for health care for all kids
Kulongoski's 'Healthy Kids Plan' would cover every child up to age 19
Portland, OR-Addressing the annual conference of the National Assembly
of School-Based Health Care Centers Thursday, Governor Ted Kulongoski
said he's determined to make certain every child in Oregon has access to
physical and mental health care.
"There are 117,000 kids in Oregon who do not have health insurance," the
Governor told the crowd. "And that's 117,000 too many. I will make my
Healthy Kids Plans one of my top legislative priorities next year. I
want 2007 to be the beginning of new era-an era when no Oregon child
goes without health care, and no Oregon parent worries about finding or
affording that health care."
The Governor said his Healthy Kids Plan will meet the health care needs
of Oregon's children in three ways:
* The plan will provide affordable insurance to children whose
families cannot afford health care but earn too much to qualify for
programs that the state already offers. "This is simply the right thing
to do," the Governor said. "I believe that it is morally unacceptable
for any child, anywhere, not to have access to health care."
* The plan will increase funding to reach out to kids and families
who qualify for state-supported health insurance but have not enrolled.
"A lack of good information by parents must never be the reason for a
lack of good health care coverage for Oregon's children," the Governor
* The plan directs about $2.0 million in new funding to continue
the expansion of Oregon's school-based health centers, and to sustain
the 45 centers that the state already has. "Even as we work to enroll
more eligible children in our public insurance programs, school-based
health centers will remain a critical part of my Healthy Kids Plan," the
Governor said. "Students are in school, so their health care should be
in school too."
Bringing health care into schools frees parents from taking time off
work to bring their children to the doctor, the Governor added. And if
their schools have health centers, students need not choose between
missing school and missing an appointment with a health care
Oregon has invested in school-based health centers for two decades, the
Governor said. Today the state has 45 school-based health centers in 17
counties. Three more counties-Marion, Linn and Wheeler-are planning to
open new centers in the next two years.
The Governor explained that in 2006, Oregon school-based health centers
served nearly 18,000 students, logging more than 56,000 visits. "But
here's the most important number of all. Seventy-one percent of the
18,000 students I just mentioned reported that without the center they
would not have gotten the health care they needed."
Lack of health care mean illnesses and injuries are left untreated,
which causes greater reliance on expensive emergency room care that
everyone pays for in the form of higher insurance premiums, the Governor
said. Children without primary care become sick, miss school, and
require their parents to miss work in order to take care of them.
Absenteeism on the job is one consequence, which reduces productivity.
"School-based health centers produce a great return on investment," the
Governor said. "Healthy kids benefit all of us. There is plenty of
research showing that children without health care do not do as well in
school as covered children."
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