They toil in America’s fast-food restaurants, call centers and retail stores — yet as many as five million Americans remain not only poor but also uninsured, despite an array of state and federal policies specifically intended to help them get health care.
These people are caught in a health care netherworld. Their employers classify them as part-time workers or independent contractors, therefore avoiding any obligation to provide health care. Their state governments have not expanded Medicaid to include low-wage earners. And government mandates set a standard for “affordable” coverage that is not affordable at all for these families.
Some workers choose not to take health benefits, says health care lawyer Nancy Taylor, a Greenberg Traurig partner who represents many restaurant companies.