ATR, CWF Applaud New CMS Rule Ending Dues Skimming

Posted by Olivia Grady on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 at 4:10 pm - Permalink

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, issued a final rule forbidding states from diverting Medicaid funds from caregivers to third parties.

Unions have been taking advantage of this exception since the Obama Administration published a final rule on January 16, 2014, allowing dues deduction. Since then, the governors of more than eleven states have defined these caretakers as “public employees,” purportedly because they receive a small Medicaid payment. However, they are only defined as public employees for collective bargaining purposes. This has allowed unions to collect dues directly from Medicaid payments. In fact, the Freedom Foundation estimates that about $1.4 billion has been diverted to unions since 2000. About $150 million was diverted in 2017 alone.

Americans for Tax Reform and the Center for Worker Freedom submitted comments in support of the proposed rule because Medicaid funds should be used to take care of those in need. Taxpayers should not be directly subsidizing unions.

In addition, the Center for Independent Employees, the Center of the American Experiment, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Lawful Unionism, Americans for Tax Reform and the Center for Worker Freedom have been helping a group of Minnesota homecare workers (MNPCA) with a decertification effort. In 2013, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) signed a bill into law, defining these caretakers as “public employees,” but only for collective bargaining purposes. This bill allowed the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to unionize these caretakers after an election where fewer than 6,000 people voted out of 27,000. Since the election, the SEIU has been deducting dues from the Medicaid payments of these caretakers, typically family members of the individuals who need constant care.

Unfortunately, MNPCA has learned from some caretakers that they never agreed to the dues deduction. These caretakers told MNPCA that their names were forged on dues deduction authorization cards. MNPCA was also told by caregivers that they never received an election ballot to vote in the election.

With the new rule, dues won’t be deducted from Medicaid payments. Unions will instead be required to collect dues from the caretakers themselves. So, although this rule doesn’t decertify the SEIU, Minnesota caretakers will be better off and actually get to choose whether to support the SEIU or not.

Therefore, because this rule protects those in need, their caregivers, and American taxpayers, Americans for Tax Reform and the Center for Worker Freedom applaud the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for this new rule.