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'Healthy Montana Kids' Celebrates 10 Years

Brie Oliver tells a gathering at the state Capitol about how Healthy Montana Kids helped her family, April 4, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney
/
Montana Public Radio
Brie Oliver tells a gathering at the state Capitol about how Healthy Montana Kids helped her family, April 4, 2019.

People involved with children’s health gathered at the Montana Capitol on Thursday to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the successful ballot initiative that created Healthy Montana Kids.

That’s the government-funded health coverage for kids and teens up to age 19. The initiative broadened eligibility for it from about 175 percent of the federal poverty level to 250 percent. In today’s dollars, that’s a little under $63,000 a year for a family of four.

Brie Oliver, a mother of three, said Healthy Montana Kids was critical for her family in the wake of the 2008 recession.

"We made too much money to qualify for many of the social programs aimed at building well being, stability and self sufficiency, but we didn’t make enough money to keep our family insured or in quality, affordable childcare."

Healthy Montana Kids now covers about 128,000 kids. Voters passed it in 2008 by a 70 to 30 margin.

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