MIDLAND — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ruled earlier today that unions cannot automatically deduct union dues from home health care providers, a move the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has called for since successfully ending the practice in Michigan years earlier. This latest federal rule change closes a loophole from a U.S. Supreme Court decision that the Service Employees International Union has continued to take advantage of to the tune of an estimated $200 million annually.
“This rule will end five years of union subversion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn ruling,” said Patrick Wright, vice president for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center. “Now home health care workers can focus on the care of their loved ones without having to guard their wallets.”
Hundreds of thousands people across the country are providing home health care services to those who are disabled or ill, with many of these in-home services being provided by friends and family members. These individuals are eligible to receive payments from Medicaid to compensate them for the care they provide. But in some states, a portion of these payments never reach the caregivers.
For nearly two decades, unions have used state agencies to “unionize” home caregivers and skim money from their paychecks. The SEIU maintained that these were “public” employees for the purpose of unionization, but that was overruled in Harris v. Quinn.
As documented in a recent Mackinac Center study, of the tens of billions of dollars spent on two Medicaid programs meant to provide assistance to disabled and low-income families, an estimated $200 million every year is skimmed from the paychecks of home health care providers. With the HHS rule change announced today, this loophole has now been closed. If Michigan’s experience is typical, unions can expect to see a massive drop in revenue — 84% of home caregivers dropped out of the SEIU affiliate once given a choice.
“Ever since the Mackinac Center learned a decade ago of unions skimming funds from those caring for society’s most vulnerable — and in many cases, their own ailing family members — we began to actively seek to end this abhorrent practice,” said Joseph Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center. “This illegitimate action, negotiated between government and big unions, cost Michigan caregivers tens of millions of dollars. We were proud to litigate and bring an end to this practice for Michigan residents providing care to the disabled. Now, we celebrate with caregivers across the country who are finally afforded the same relief.”
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
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