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Tim Mathern, Fargo, Letter: No One Should Die for Lack of Insurance

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A new report by Families USA found that between 2000 and 2006, 200 people in North Dakota between the ages of 25 and 64 died prematurely because of a lack of health insurance.
04/15/08

We all know that people who do not have health insurance live in fear. They may have to go into debt to pay for health care or forgo medical care altogether.

But, what many people don't realize is that a lack of health insurance can also result in premature death.

A new report by Families USA found that between 2000 and 2006, 200 people in North Dakota between the ages of 25 and 64 died prematurely because of a lack of health insurance.

Does that seem hard to believe? Think about it. People without health insurance are more likely to receive too little medical care and receive it too late. They can become sicker due to lack of care, and some die sooner as a result.

You don't need to take my word for it. The Institute of Medicine released a groundbreaking report, "Care Without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late," which estimated that 18,000 adults nationwide died because they did not have health insurance. The Urban Institute followed up with a report finding that 22,000 people died in the U.S. for lack of health insurance.

Adults between the ages of 25 and 64 are the most vulnerable. They work, but they earn too much to qualify for government assistance, and they are too young to be covered by Medicare. They are caught in a trap between high costs and government indifference. It's time that something was done so everyone has the health insurance they need. The insurance companies aren't going to do this on their own, nor will Gov. John Hoeven. As governor, I will make health insurance for those who don't have it a top priority.

No one should die prematurely because they don't have health insurance. Not here. Not anywhere.


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