House Republicans plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to curb a controversial process that allows unions in certain states to collect dues from family caregivers’ Medicaid funds.
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) will introduce a bill by the end of February “that would prohibit states from allowing unions to automatically deduct dues and fees from Medicaid funds that are intended to help family caregivers,” according to McMorris Rodgers’ aides.
The bill, which according to aides has at least some support in the Senate, will clearly state that withdrawing labor organization dues from a Medicaid payment to a family caregiver is an “improper use of Medicaid funds.”
A civil monetary penalty will be handed out for any violations of the proposed bill, according to the chairwoman’s office. “Due-skimming is robbing our nation’s most vulnerable who need Medicaid the most,” an aide told IJR.
Eleven states, including McMorris Rodgers’ home state of Washington, allow health care labor organizations to classify family caregivers as public employees, enabling them to circumvent a 2014 Supreme Court ruling blocking unions from skimming union fees from home-care workers.
Service Employees International Union, a labor union representing millions of workers across the United States, is reportedly a significant benefactor of the current system.
The SEIU did not return IJR’s request for comment.
Caregivers took to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, calling on Congress to stop states — including California, Minnesota and Illinois — from classifying family caregivers as public employees. House GOP officials say ending the practice could save Medicaid and other programs as much as $200 million a year.
“What bothers me the most is, I know a lot of parents, because I’m in this community,” said Miranda Thorpe, a registered nurse who also cares for her 21-year-old daughter, according to Fox News.
“And none of them really understand that this is happening to them. They have no idea. I don’t think the state should be the factor that colludes with unions to take out this money without people’s knowledge,” Thorpe added.
“If they really wanted people to have a choice, then they should let them know what their options are. … I think it’s very unfair since this is a very vulnerable population.”