Henry J. Aaron's Nov. 25 op-ed piece on health care options for the 41 million Americans who are uninsured called much-needed attention to the persistent challenge of expanding health coverage. The fiscal and political obstacles to covering the uninsured are great, but the consequences of maintaining the status quo are even more troubling. People who are uninsured live sicker and die younger than those who have health insurance. Those without coverage are more likely to delay or forgo seeking care than people who are insured.

Uninsured women with breast cancer and men with colorectal cancer are twice as likely to die as their counterparts with health insurance.

Elected officials' near silence about this problem is deeply disturbing. For far too long our leaders have remained complacent about the consequences of millions of our neighbors living without health insurance. As a physician and the president of the nation's largest health and health care philanthropic organization, I believe it is time for Americans of every walk of life and every point of view to join in the discussion about solutions. It is the right thing to do, medically and morally.


President and CEO

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Princeton, N.J.