From KIONRightNow.com, Central Coast News, “Seventy Percent of Farmworkers Don’t Have Health Insurance” by Lucero Benitez, 31 Mar 2011.
SALINAS, Calif- Farm workers work for minimum wage and more than half of them don’t have health insurance so when they get sick and try to see a doctor, they can’t because it’s too expensive.
“Fifty percent of males and forty percent of females have never been to a dentist. More than two thirds have never had an eye exam.” Dr. Maximiliano Cuevas said farm workers like Eleasar Mendoza owe thousands of dollars because when they need surgery, they have to pay for it.
Unfortunately federal healthcare will not level the access to healthcare field for many farm workers,” said Dr. Cuevas.
That’s because they have to be employed year round by one employer and a lot of them are here illegally.
“The bills have gone to collections. Financially, I’m at rock bottom and it’s a big problem for us because we don’t have medical support”.” Mendoza’s trying to support a family of four and none of them have healthcare.
“We can’t go to the doctor because we don’t have enough income to be able to go to the doctor,” said Mendoza.
That’s why Dr. Cuevas and other healthcare representatives want lawmakers to step in and help local ag workers get health benefits.
“Since Chavez’ passing there have been various recommendations to improve the lives of farm workers but despite heightened awareness of the farm worker plight little has been done at the policy and institutional level to affect long term change,” said Dr. Cuevas.