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Healthy Kids Celebration Marks More Than 85,000 Children Insured

April 18 — Last week in Salem, lawmakers, community partners and stakeholders gathered to celebrate a milestone in the effort to improve the health of Oregon kids and teens. Since the program expanded in 2009, the Oregon Health Authority's Office of Healthy Kids has brought health coverage to more than 85,000 uninsured children across the state.

Healthy Kids Family: Rebecca Moulton and her children attend the reception sponsored by Children First for Oregon.

Salem mother Rebecca Moulton addressed the crowd at the reception sponsored by Children First for Oregon.

"I wish for a second that all he families could be here tonight and tell you "Thank you,' and to for one moment applaud," she said. "What would that sound like to you?"

Moulton said her family found itself without health insurance when rising costs forced her employer to drop health coverage for its employees.

"My husband and I did have coverage — everything was great," she said. "But one of the first things my employer had to do away with in order to survive was health care. And that was a very hard thing for that company to do, because it was a local company, and they loved each and every one of us."

A billboard advertisement — part of an aggressive outreach campaign Healthy Kids undertook last year — led Moulton to the program.

"I almost cried when I saw the billboard. That was my billboard," she said.

Dr. Bruce Goldberg, Director of the Oregon Health Authority, thanked former Governor Ted Kulongoski, lawmakers, local and federal partners and others who have made the Healthy Kids program a success.

"I have never been prouder to be an Oregonian," Dr. Goldberg said. "I've been working my whole life to do something like move the needle on a whole state, to be able to live in a place where we get just about everybody health care. And we are just about there. It is really a dramatic achievement."

In the coming months, the Office of Healthy Kids will continue their efforts to reach out to Oregon families with uninsured children. No family makes too much money for Healthy Kids, which offers free or low-cost insurance to all Oregon children. Families with uninsured children should apply for Healthy Kids today by calling 1-877-314-5678 or by visiting www.OregonHealthyKids.gov.