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The Forgotten Providers

The people who will save American health care likely don’t wear lab coats or perform complicated procedures in operating rooms. They probably don’t have doctorates or years and years of graduate experience. These saviors on average make a tenth or less of what physicians earn each year in salary, and they often perform some of the most thankless tasks of the allied health fields. But as the American population gets older and the health-care system caters more and more to the needs of elderly and disabled people, this growing army of millions of home-care workers will be one of the most valuable elements in keeping the whole system afloat.

Home-care workers are not, however, afforded wages or protections commensurate with their importance, with over a quarter living under the poverty line and more than half reliant on public assistance. That economic vulnerability is especially notable because of just who tends to work in home care: Women of color are the largest demographic group within the home-care workforce. Their vulnerability reflects a long history of exploitation of women of color working in-home jobs, and highlights a growing inequality in the health-care workforce, even as health coverage expands to more and more Americans. ...

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Vann R Newkirk II, The Atlantic

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