Unions Lose Big with Home Healthcare Ruling

July 24, 2017

by John McClaughry

Home health care workers in Vermont will soon see more money in their paychecks due to a proposed federal rule change. Two weeks ago the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed repealing an Obama administration rule for Medicaid in-house personal care providers that allows unions to get the State to skim off the union dues before sending out Medicaid reimbursement checks. That should take effect next month.

In particular, the change targets independent home health care providers who state law – Vermont’s Act 48 of 2013 – classifies as state employees to allow a labor union to collect their dues.

Meg Hansen, executive director of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, said “In most cases, home health care workers are family caregivers who are taking care of a loved one, like a spouse or grandparent. …They know they’ll get X amount of money for taking care of their loved ones.” But X would be less than what they’re being paid, because the State and the union made a deal to subtract the union dues from the payment.

Home health care workers have the option to join the union or not, but if they join the union they have no choice about the State subtracting the dues from their pay.

“The Supreme Court  in a 2014 case  said they are not state workers and you cannot deduct agency fees or union dues from the Medicaid funds for union membership,” Hansen said.

If the union wants the dues of home health care workers, it can go ask for them. Chances are a lot of them will say “no, thanks.”

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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