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Governor Gregoire Unveils Plan to Expand Children’s Health Coverage

For Immediate Release: January 11, 2007

Bill would cover an additional 32,000 children, moving closer to Governor’s goal of ensuring that every child in Washington has access to health care coverage by 2010

SEATTLE – Governor Chris Gregoire today visited Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, where she unveiled her Comprehensive Children’s Health Care plan.

“A parent’s first responsibility is to make sure that a child is healthy and safe. But gaps in our health care system make it difficult to ensure that every child receives the medical attention they need,” said Governor Gregoire. “I’m working to make changes in our health care system that families can count on and have worked aggressively toward the goal of ensuring that every child in our state has access to health care coverage by 2010.”

Governor Gregoire’s proposal will:

  • Provide access to health care coverage to an additional 32,000 children;
  • Raise reimbursement rates for pediatricians so that every child not only has coverage but actually gets in the door to see a doctor;
  • Establish a medical home for children so that all the health care needs of a child are well coordinated;
  • Set nutrition and exercise goals for schools and educate children about healthy choices;
  • Set performance standards to measure the outcomes of services and to be accountable to Washingtonians; and
  • Reach out to families to ensure that children who are eligible for state programs are enrolled.

Governor Gregoire this week delivered her annual State of the State address to Washingtonians, outlining her vision for education and highlighting the accomplishments of the past year. She thanked legislators for their bipartisan work ethic and congratulated them on the responsible changes made last session.

“We have fought for change – responsible change. We demanded accountability - and the results are clear,” said Governor Gregoire in her address. “Thousands of children will have a better shot at life thanks to our new emphasis on early learning. We promised to provide health care to more children than ever before – and we delivered. We invested in renewable energy and green buildings and we curbed auto emissions. More people are working – 155,000 new jobs were created in the last two years. Together, we have taken steps to help forest land owners and farmers.”

Governor Gregoire’s vision for Washington reflects her commitment to world-class education, access to quality, affordable health care, job creation and other top priorities, including a new rainy day fund. Her proposed budget invests in:

  • An education system families can rely on;
  • An economy that offers opportunity for family wage jobs;
  • Health insurance families can afford;
  • An environment where families can thrive;
  • Communities where families feel safe; and
  • State government that is performance-driven and accountable to Washington families.

“We all want the same things for our families – quality education, reliable health care and good jobs. Our challenge is to stand in the shoes of our citizens, see the future through their eyes, and find common ground that provides changes Washington families can count on,” said Governor Gregoire.