WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Wednesday Americans should have a new option for health care insurance. He said he was among 15 senators who sent a letter to congressional leaders promoting a public health insurance plan as part of current efforts to reform health care in the U.S.

"We all know the statistics. Forty-six plus million Americans are uninsured," Brown said in a telephone media conference. "More are under-insured. In our state, more than 1.2 million adults between 18 and 64 are uninsured. In Appalachia that rate is 17 percent. In Ohio overall in Appalachia it's easily higher than that, about 22 percent. We as a nation spend $2 trillion annually in health care, twice what every other industrialized country spends. These statistics don't even consider the downturn in the economy that has happened in the last six months. Stagnant wages are out-paced by rising health costs. The situation is obviously getting worse.

"It's important that any reform plan include a public plan option. Several very prominent people in the health care debate have shown their support for a public plan. President Obama campaigned on health care reform which included a public health plan option."

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