91.2% - Kudos to 2009 Legislature and Governor Kulongoski

Chuck Sheketoff

Amid the slew of bleak statistics contained in recently released U.S. Census data, one item shined brightly: a large drop in the share of Oregon children without health insurance.

The rate of uninsured Oregon children dropped from 10.4 percent in 2009 to 8.8 percent in 2010. Going back to 2008, when the rate stood at 12.1 percent, the decline is even more pronounced.

Oregon’s remarkable progress in expanding health coverage to 91.2 percent of Oregon's children demonstrates the important role that investments in public structures can play in improving the lives of Oregonians. The 2009 Oregon legislature and then-Governor Ted Kulongoski deserve much credit for Oregon's great strides.

The Healthy Kids program they created expanded and improved existing public health insurance structures. As part of the program, the legislature also offered subsidies to children from families with somewhat higher income to help them purchase private insurance.

Oregon’s progress in expanding health coverage for children demonstrates the important role that government can play in improving our lives, and offers hope that Oregon can tackle other serious social problems, particularly poverty. We just need the will and a plan to do so from our current Governor and legislature.

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.

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    Great post, Chuck. Credit where credit is due. Equally important is the realization that government can do good things, and that it can help society achieve its nobler goals.

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    Health insurance is one thing, but access to care is another. Not every doctor will take Oregon Health Plan patients. In some cases, patients must travel from Portland to Salem to find someone who will. Health care access should be our next goal.

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    Great post, Chuck. This work has been amazing to watch. I'm so proud to be an Oregonian when I see things like this. Thanks for sharing the good stuff!

    Each year with PolitiCorps, we ask the Fellows to choose a "mini campaign" to work on over the summer. I think that the Fellows who went door to door in 2009 and helped sign up a child for coverage on the Oregon Health Plan will never forget that feeling -- having made a gigantic difference in the life of a child and family.

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