Govenror Culver signs health reform bill into law. Officials estimate about 90% of eligible Iowa children will be covered by a health insurance plan by 2011 as a result of a bill Governor Culver signed into law.

In addition to the $6 million that would provide government-paid health insurance for 12,000 Iowa kids, about $2 million more will provide dental insurance to about 35,000 kids by 2011.

“Although I’m proud to sign this bill into law today, I want to be clear this is just one more step of many to make sure that every Iowan has access to medical care when they need it,” Culver said at a bill signing ceremony.

Carrie Fitzgerald of the Iowa Family Policy Center was chair of an advisory council which lobbied for the bill.

“This bill signing gives us a moment to celebrate,” she said. “This legislation is another important step in the journey toward ensuring that all Iowans have health care coverage.”

The new law covers more uninsured Iowa kids by enrolling more children in government-paid Medicaid and expanding the state’s “Healthy And Well Kids of Iowa” or “HAWK-I” program which helps parents buy low-cost, or no-cost insurance for their children. The bill signing was staged at Broadlawns Medical Center, the county hospital in Des Moines. According to Jody Jenner — the president and C.E.O. of Broadlawns, the bill strengthens his institution’s ability to care for uninsured patients.

“In addition, this legislation will provide coverage for interpreter services for families who enroll in HAWK-I,” Jenner said. “This will enhance our ability to provide quality care to those for whom English is not their primary language.”

As a result of the new law, a new state “health care coverage council” will be formed to discuss ways to ensure all Iowans — children and adults — have health care insurance.

You can hear all of what was said at today’s bill signing by clicking on the audio link below.

AUDIO: Bill signing ceremony…MP3 12 min