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Health care for kids hits the starting gate

Posted at 3:30 PM on January 31, 2007 by Bob Collins

SF15, the bill that provides free health care to Minnesota children, and increases the tax on tobacco, passed John Marty's Committee on Health, Housing and Family Security, not completely surprising since it's Marty's committee and his name is on the bill (along with Sens. Prettner Solon, Berglin, Rosen and Dille).

What are the prospects for the bill? There was significant opposition voiced when the committee took its (non roll call... grrrrrr) vote and listening to some of the questions asked, it would appear some of the concerns involve whether Minnesotans whose kids are covered, and who can afford it, should pay a premium or anything. Sen. Prettner Solon said if she had her way, all kids would be covered, and suggested that people don't seek proper health care if it costs money. In the long-term, she said the cost will be lower since the kids won't get sick.

Other testimony, including from a school nurse, maintained that when kids are denied proper health care, you can forget about them learning anything in school.

So what are the prospects for the legislation now? Hard to say. It'll be expensive, but the DFL has made no secret of its desire for this legislation.

Bills filed today: Paced by Sen.Don Betzold's 15 bills and Tom Saxhaug's 16 bills , senators filed another 100 bills today and their votes points have been tabulated.

The bills filed included voluntary all-day kindergarten in the state, a surcharge on deer licenses, tuition assistance for military vets and their children, mandating financial literacy as part of a required economics course for high school graduation, an income tax break for military pay for people serving out of state, the statewide smoking ban, and the repeal of the Labor Day start for school.