Photo: Illegal restaurant workers get health insurance.
In a unique cooperative effort by a restaurant workers’ group and a Los Angeles community clinic, healthcare coverage now includes undocumented Los Angeles workers.
The pilot program offers preventive and primary care to uninsured and low-wage undocumented immigrants. Around 75,000 restaurant workers are uninsured because of their immigration status said reports.
Mariana Huerta, of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles, also addressed that keeping these workers healthy is in the best interest of the restaurant in question and the hospitality industry in the state.
“So many of these workers reported that they go to work sick. That is a public health hazard for consumers.”
The program, titled ROC-MD, offers basic dental and health coverage to these workers for $25 a month. And although it cannot replace traditional health insurance, its preventative care can help the workers avoid the emergency room.
Director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, David Hayes, believes that the program is a smart move and beneficial for everyone involved.
“Emergency rooms are the providers of last resort, and they are very expensive. If people can be provided alternatives, that saves everyone money.”
This first of its kind program is a great benefit for undocumented restaurant workers, who rarely if ever get to see a doctor and it is hoped the program, will extend to other parts of the country.