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More uninsured Minnesotans. What will you lose?

Minnesota is always at or near the top of the list of healthiest places to live. The number of individuals without health insurance in the state is low compared to the rest of the country, which contributes to overall state health. Additionally, Minnesotans enjoy the luxury of seeing the doctor they want at their convenience. But that may soon change. The number of Minnesotans who donít have insurance is going up. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the number of Minnesotans without health insurance increased from 374,000 in 2007 to 480,000 in 2009.

When hospitals and clinics provide care without receiving payment, cuts have to be made to other services. It may start small with a hospital closing a disease prevention program or clinics shortening hours. Eventually, communities with high rates of uninsured notice overcrowded emergency rooms, limited physician availability and a decline in general community health. This happens when an increasing number of people in a community need care but donít have health care coverage to pay doctors and hospitals for providing services.*

*Institute of Medicine ďA Shared Destiny: Effects of Underinsurance on Individuals, Families, and CommunitiesĒ

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