hide captionYuvania Maldonado, a counselor for President Obama’s health care law, speaks with Chicago taxi driver Mohammad Chaudri at a city office where taxi drivers go to renew their license.
M. Spencer Green/AP
Dan Ware has been driving a taxicab in Chicago for more than a decade, but he still doesn’t have what many jobs offer: health insurance.
“I’m without health coverage,” he says.
And that’s not unusual, says Chicago Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair. “What we know in Chicago is that around 70 percent of taxi drivers are uninsured,” Choucair says.
That means about 8,000 cabbies could be eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Nationwide, there are more than 200,000 taxicab drivers, and so in a few big cities — including Chicago — supporters of the Affordable Care Act are working to recruit them to sign up before this month’s open enrollment deadline.
Choucair says a couple of years ago, a study showed taxi drivers in Chicago had plenty of health problems, largely due to the long hours they spend behind the wheel.
“They don’t eat as healthy, they don’t exercise as much and those are definitely risk factors for diabetes, for heart disease, for strokes,” Choucair says.
Add to that chronic back issues that can come from sitting and health problems caused by traffic accidents.
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