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May 6 2019

New Rules Protect Medicaid Reimbursements from Coercive Union Dues Deductions

by Charlotte Hays

The Supreme Court ruling in the Janus case meant that unions could no longer force American public sector workers who don't want to belong to unions to pay dues anyway.

Now, the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has done something similar for caregivers. Think of is as sort of a Janus for caregivers.

Full-time caregivers, including family members who elect to work full-time in the home of a disabled relative, have in some states been accustomed to seeing a chunk of money from their reimbursements from Medicaid mysteriously vanish from their paychecks. The money went to union coffers, whether the caregiver wanted it to or not.

But the new rules change that--labor organizations won't be able to siphon off an automatic cut of the home health care aide's check.

 The Free Beacon gives a good summary of what has happened:

The Department of Health and Human Services's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services adopted a new regulation that will prohibit states from siphoning money from caregiver reimbursements to third parties. The rule takes direct aim at state policies enacted to enrich union coffers.

"State Medicaid programs are responsible for ensuring that taxpayer dollars are dedicated to providing healthcare services for low-income, vulnerable Americans and are not diverted in ways that do not comply with federal law," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a release. "This final rule is intended to ensure that providers receive their complete payment."

Several states have used forced dues schemes in the past to automatically deduct union fees from the reimbursement checks intended to pay for the care of disabled citizens. In many cases that money has gone to family members who serve as full-time caregivers to their severely disabled relatives. The new rule will prevent states from enforcing those policies in the future.

"This final rule removes the regulatory text that allows a state to make Medicaid payments to third parties on behalf of an individual provider for benefits such as health insurance, skills training, and other benefits customary for employees," the regulation says.

And the unions have collected significant money as a result of these coerced dues.

An estimate is that unions have collected $1.4 billion from coerced dues of this kind since 2000.

According to the new rules, if a caregiver wants to voluntarily contribute to and be represented by a labor organization, that is fine.

The change is that the state government won't make the decision for the caregiver.

Unions have every right to organize and represent those who want to be represented and willingly sign up to join.

But coercive dues are another matter and, if unions need these involuntary contributions so badly. union officials might start re-evaluating what they are offering to American workers. 

 

 

 





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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