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Something must be done about the health insurance problem

Nearly 50 million people are without health insurance. This is unconscionable in a country with so many riches. With each passing day, more workers will join the ranks of the uninsured as employers struggle with ever increasing insurance costs by not offering coverage, shifting more costs to employees and/or dropping dependent coverage.

According to a report by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, a full one in six employees with employer-sponsored insurance in 2006 lost that coverage by 2008.

The United States is the only industrialized country that does not provide health care coverage to all of its citizens. About one-quarter of uninsured adults go without needed care due to cost each year. The uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions.

Lack of access to timely care causes more than 20,000 uninsured adults to die prematurely each year. Children without insurance have less access to well-child care, immunizations, basic dental services, and prescription medication.

The health care sector has spent $263 million this year lobbying Congress for changes to reform legislation, according to estimates from a government watchdog group. There are more than 3,000 people registered to lobby about health care, almost six lobbyists for every member of Congress. Who is speaking for you?

Make your voice be heard. The loss of employee coverage would not be so harmful if there was an affordable public option. We can and must do better.

(This letter was also signed by Jerry Nagel, Lake Park, Lon Engberg, Detroit Lakes, Ryan Engberg, Detroit Lakes, Elaine Beitelspacher, Detroit Lakes, Sharon Sinclair, Detroit Lakes, Dave Erickson, Detroit Lakes and Mary Hansen, Waubun.)