Becky Lourey on the Sharp Rise in Uninsured Minnesota Children

Background: The number of children lacking health insurance coverage was estimated at 68,000 in 2004 (most recent reported data), a 21 percent estimated increase compared to 2001. Loss of health care coverage for children under 6 years old was especially dramatic -- up by an estimated 11,000, according to a report released today (Wednesday) by the Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota. The statistical data is based on surveys conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health.

“We are losing ground on health care coverage in Minnesota, and the current leadership has our state headed in the wrong direction. Tim Pawlenty’s deep health care cuts in 2003 and his relentless raids on dedicated health care funds are moving us further from our goal of universal health care. The future of our state is all about our children. Providing our children with health care coverage is essential to their success.

“It is unacceptable that 68,000 children in our state lack health care coverage, and it is frustrating to learn that our youngest Minnesotans have been hardest hit by the health care cuts and budget shifts. Comparing Minnesota to the struggles facing other states does nothing to fix a deteriorating situation. My campaign is the first to offer a comprehensive health care solution to cover all children – and all Minnesotans – by 2010. We cannot separate children from their families to achieve the goal of universal coverage.”