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Most Medi-Cal Caregivers Earn Poverty Or Near-Poverty Wages

Aired 4/11/12 on KPBS News.

The majority of Californians who work as caregivers for Medi-Cal patients live in poverty or close to it. A new report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research reveals some disturbing figures.

— The majority of Californians who work as caregivers for Medi-Cal patients live in poverty or close to it. A new report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research reveals some disturbing figures.

The study finds 57 percent of Medi-Cal caregivers earn poverty or near-poverty wages. These workers make up about two-thirds of California's paid caregivers.

The study's lead researcher Geoffrey Hoffman said it's a sad situation.

"It's sort of astonishing to think that the people we rely on to take care of our grandma and our grandpa and our spouses are doing so poorly," he said. "It's sort of shocking to see that a third of them are themselves uninsured."

Hoffman said proposed cuts to the state's In-Home Supportive Services program could make the plight of caregivers even worse. The state wants to reduce IHSS workers' hours by 20 percent. A federal judge has temporarily blocked the move.

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