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      Health care needs to stay in U.P.

      Eighty million dollars...that's how much money leaves the Upper Peninsula each year when people go out of state for health care.

      "Those patients leaving take dollars and jobs out of our economy. And very importantly, it increases our brain drain with our young people leaving because they're not able to find health care jobs here if those jobs are going someplace else," says Superior Health Partners representative, Jan Hillman.

      Most travel to Wisconsin for medical procedures. And at today's meeting, health care professionals learned that money isn't the only thing lost when people cross the state line. It also raises insurance costs.

      "If that care were here in the U.P., it would be significantly less. So we're not talking one or two million. We're talking $20-30 million. If we were successful, we could help lower the cost here in the U.P.," explains Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan representative, Jeff Connolly.

      U.P. hospitals aren't well known for certain fields of care, like pediatrics and cancer, and sometimes the only option is to leave. But hospital officials say those specialties aren't really the problem.

      "A lot of it is orthopedic, it's back, it's knee, and this is where hospitals here in the U.P. have the best quality that you would find, so why not have them done here versus traveling two hours," Connolly says.

      And an important note for the money conscious health care seeker: most medical procedures are actually more expensive in Wisconsin than in Michigan.