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KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Matt Oglevie makes a good living as a self-employed house painter, is healthy and has no family to worry about. But he has been looking for a night job so he can get health insurance.
"I've got to have something. I've gone too long on my luck," said 37-year-old Oglevie.
Like Oglevie, an estimated 47 million Americans gamble daily that they won't suffer a major illness or injury and often go without needed medicine. With rapidly-rising health care costs, the number of uninsured has grown from 43 million in 2006.
U.S. lawmakers have argued over reform plans for years, and the spiraling problem is a hot topic in the 2008 presidential campaign with leading Democrats and Republicans alike acknowledging changes are needed.
But state leaders say they are tired of waiting for answers from Washington and at least a dozen states are trying to pass far-ranging health reforms this year.
"The list is very long of states that have made health reform a policy priority," said Laura Tobler, health policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"It isn't coincidental that the presidential candidates are also talking about health reform," said Tobler. "People on the street are pushing for reform."