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More on Home Health Workers

An op-ed from today's New York Times underscores my previous post on a recent Supreme Court decision concerning home care workers.

According to the editorial:

... the justices were completely silent on the question of whether denying overtime to home health employees is good policy, let alone morally justifiable. Clearly it is neither. As the population ages, home health care has become one of the nation’s fastest growing occupations, with an estimated 650,000 aides currently employed — most of them by for-profit agencies. Most of them are low income, female and minority, a recipe for exploitation. The support of federal labor laws is crucial to ensure that the aides, entrusted with the care of the most vulnerable Americans, are treated with professionalism, fairness and dignity.

And yet, powerful forces — the Bush administration and the Bloomberg administration among them — opposed Ms. Coke’s claim to overtime pay. They argued that federal labor protection for home health workers would drive up the cost of Medicaid and Medicare, which cover many home health care bills. There is no doubt that the costs of these programs are rising, but refusing to pay employees fairly for the work they do is not an acceptable way to keep costs down.

Congress has to reform the law to include home health employees. If that intensifies the pressure to find suitable ways to pay for the health needs of an aging population, fine.

I quite agree.

-kc

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