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Nearly 87 million people—more than one-third all Americans under age 65—were without health insurance for at least part of the past two years. Most of the uninsured came from working families.

This compelling new evidence on the need for comprehensive health care reform, including coverage for all, is contained in a new report by the health care advocacy group, Families USA.

The report, “Americans at Risk,” found that most of the uninsured lacked coverage for lengthy periods of time: 74.5 percent were uninsured for at least six months, and six in 10 were uninsured for nine months or more. More than half (52 percent) of individuals and families who went without health insurance had incomes between the federal poverty level and twice the poverty level—between $21,200 and $42,400.

Says Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA:

At this point, almost everyone in the country has had a family member, neighbor or friend who was uninsured, and that’s why meaningful health care reform can no longer be kept on the back burner.

President Obama in his recent address to Congress called for comprehensive health care reform that provides affordable quality care for everyone. His first budget proposal sets aside some $634 billion as a down payment on reform.

The AFL-CIO has not endorsed a specific plan but has established certain principles around which any plan should be built, including coverage for all, cost control and employers paying their fair share, along with individuals and the government. (Click here for more details.)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) says the new report is a “reality check.”

For those who believe we can afford to wait to fix our broken health care system, every American family deserves health care they can count on, and that means comprehensive coverage within a delivery system that provides high-quality, efficient, accessible, coordinated and affordable care.

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