While the nation’s attention remains focused on legal and political fights over health care reform, including an imminent ruling on the matter by the Supreme Court, a consumer advocacy organization notes that an invisible tragedy continues to play out nationwide for uninsured families who struggle to get the health care they need. A report released last week by Families USA reveals that more than 26,000 Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 died prematurely in 2010 because they did not have health coverage.

The reasons for a lack of coverage vary, according to the group. For example, many Americans have had coverage denied because of pre-existing health conditions. Others, particularly during the recent economic downturn, have been priced out of the insurance market as they have struggled to maintain homes and feed families in the face of continually-rising insurance premiums. Families USA also notes that many families have fallen victim to the decade-long decline in employer-sponsored coverage.

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