The New York Times says…
It is an oddity of American health care: Many nursing homes and home care agencies do not provide health insurance to their workers, or they pay wages so low that employees cannot afford the coverage that is offered.
This is not an oddity. This is how the system is designed. People, mostly women, do difficult task-based work inside long-term care institutions for meager pay. Meanwhile, healthcare resources are lavished on high-tech medical technologies and procedures. The American long-term care system is balanced on the back of the working poor.
The new health care law is supposed to fix the problem by guaranteeing access to affordable coverage for all. But many nursing homes and home care agencies, alarmed at the cost of providing health insurance to hundreds of thousands of health care workers, have started a lobbying effort seeking some kind of exemption or special treatment.
The people who work in the field of long-term care deserve to have health care insurance. It really is that simple. Charlene A. Harrington, a professor at the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, puts it bluntly…
“It’s scandalous to have nursing home employees taking care of people when they themselves lack coverage and go without care,” Ms. Harrington said. “If employees have health insurance, they are more likely to be treated for illnesses, less likely to pass on infections to nursing home residents and more likely to get early treatment for occupational injuries.”
The current long-term system is underfunded. As a result, it underpays its staff and struggles constantly with quality and safety issues. We would all be better off with a vastly less institution-centric system of care which paid living wages to staff and offered elders and their families real choices when it comes to the care they receive.
Read the whole thing HERE