Bill Would Help Farm Workers Obtain Health Coverage
Speaking at the Sequoia Community Health Center, a Fresno-based community clinic that predominantly serves field laborers, Assembly member Dean Florez (D-Shafter) on Friday announced legislation (AB 883) that would allow growers, the state and not-for-profit groups to pool funds to purchase affordable insurance for farm workers, the Fresno Bee reports. The bill would create the Farmworker Health Trust Fund, which would distribute grants to community clinics to provide mental, health and dental care to farm workers and their families and would provide funds for mobile clinics that could reach farm workers in rural locations. The Bee reports that the health trust fund would be the nation's first public, private and not-for-profit partnership that would make health insurance available to farm workers. Florez said that $150 million would be needed to establish the trust. Not-for profit organizations, including the California Endowment, would be asked for financial support (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 4/21). The endowment last month announced that it will provide $50 million over the next five years to improve the health of California's farm workers (California Healthline, 3/23). According to a study released in November, more than two-thirds of farm workers are uninsured, and many suffer from hypertension, diabetes and asthma (Fresno Bee, 4/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.