May 29, 2021 - Health

Home health aides want respect as essential workers

Illustration of a home health aide pushing an empty wheelchair with quarters for wheels. 

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Home caretakers and personal aides, who are overwhelmingly Latinas and Black women, are among the worst-paid workers in the U.S., even as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the value of their care.

Why it matters: Most home health aides have no benefits, like Medicaid, and earn $10 to $13 an hour on average, which they say barely covers the cost of traveling to and from their house calls.

  • The Biden administration’s jobs plan would raise wages for these workers, who “have been underpaid and undervalued for too long.”

What they’re saying: “We are part of the healthcare system, but by name only, not based on our access to rights,” health aide Orbelina del Carmen tells Noticias Telemundo.

  • Del Carmen has no health coverage and got COVID-19 while on her job.
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