A group of health professionals and advocates is calling on Iowans to take notice as “Cover the Uninsured Week” begins Monday. Pamela Dickson is the deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which is the national organizer of the week.

Dickson says nearly 46-million Americans are living without health insurance. In Iowa she says more than 277-thousand are living without insurance, including 41-thousand children.

Dickson says you don’t have to look very far to find someone who doesn’t have health insurance. She says, “We know them, they’re our friends, they’re our neighbors, and perhaps even members of our own family. They’re working Americans who teach our children, run our local businesses, and care for our aging parents. They are the faces of America.” Dickson says there’s often a stereotype that people who are out of work are the only ones who don’t have insurance, but she says that’s not true.

Dickson says eight-out-of-10 of the uninsured Americans are in working families, but health care coverage is beyond their reach. Dickson says a lack of health care coverage leads to many other problems. Dickson says, “We know that people without insurance, live sicker and die sooner. They don’t get the medical care and prescription drugs they need, leaving at serious risk for health problems or worse.” She says the Institute of Medicine estimates that over 18-thousand people die every year because they didn’t have insurance to get the care they needed.

Dickson says a new report from her foundation finds Iowa down the ladder when it comes to the uninsured. Dickson says uninsured Iowans are six times more likely to not seek medical care when they get sick, which she says is below the national average. She says the report says uninsured adults are almost twice as likely to report their health as being poor or fair.

Dickson says they’re asking everyone to talk with lawmakers about finding money to cover the uninsured. She says it’s a unique opportunity to speak up and tell our national leaders that the number of uninsured is too high, and the consequences are too serious. Dickson says events are planned all next week to bring more awareness to the plight of the uninsured.