As health care reform seeks to guarantee access to affordable coverage for all Americans, nursing home and home care lobbyists are seeking an exemption to the employee coverage requirement, saying that the industry cannot afford coverage for all employees.

Many nursing home and home care employees do not currently have medical coverage through their employers. According to The New York Times, one in four workers who provide hands-on care to nursing home residents have no health insurance, and one in three workers who provide care to people living at home are uninsured.

Charlene A. Harrington, a professor at the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, said it is "scandalous" that employees who care for people have no health care themselves. "If employees have health insurance, they are more likely to be treated for illnesses, less likely to pass on infections to nursing home residents and more likely to get early treatment for occupational injuries," she said.

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