How does a union for janitors help Houston address our health care crisis?
A. With a union of janitors, thousands of Houston’s workers can gain employer-paid health care and stop being forced to rely on overcrowded emergency rooms and public health programs. Our health system needs all the help it can get. Including both hospitals and public health clinics, public “safety net” health providers in Houston and Harris County spend $1.5 billion per year, yet they meet only 38% of the need for primary health care services. This includes the three public hospitals, 11 community-based primary care clinics operated by the Harris County Hospital District, seven community health centers operated by the City of Houston, and six preventative care clinics operated by Harris County. Left without other choices for health care, uninsured workers like janitors are forced to go to emergency rooms for care. In fact, a study by Save Our ERs — a coalition of Harris County emergency room doctors — shows that one-quarter of all emergency room visits are by uninsured individuals s