May 4, 2012- A health clinic in Los Angeles and a restaurant worker’s group have joined together to provide a program that gives healthcare at inexpensive prices to illegal immigrants and other food service workers who are uninsured.
The program is believed to be the only one of its kind in the country. It offers primary and preventive care to uninsured, low-wage workers who work in the restaurant industry. Also eligible are legal immigrants and other workers in the restaurant industry who meet the criteria or cannot, under the new healthcare law, afford insurance.
Close to 75,000 Los Angeles, restaurant workers cannot get insurance because of immigration status. Not only do they need the coverage, said a spokesperson from the group, but they need to be treated since they prepare and serve food that many people consume. It is a public health hazard not having them covered.
In the new program, the uninsured workers will pay just $25 each month so they can visit one of the clinics operated by St. John’s Well Child and Family Clinic to get physicals, dental care as well as treatment for most common illnesses. The program began last fall however; its organizers made a formal announcement on Wednesday and have started to recruit more participants.
The program is not meant to replace traditional forms of health insurance, but ensures that workers in the industry have a place to seek preventive care so they do not have to go to an emergency room.