NAHC’s Forum of State Associations Chair Quoted in the Washington Post
October 16, 2014 11:37 AM
The Chair of NAHC’s Forum of State Associations, Joanne Cunningham, was recently quoted in a Washington Post article that focuses on the consequences of raising the minimum wage to $15 and hour. Ms. Cunningham is also the President of the Home Care Association of New York State and in the article offers the perspective of home health care providers.
In expressing the concerns of providers, Ms. Cunningham states that, “no one, least of all the agencies, wants to pay their workers anything less than a living wage. The issue is, the health-care system now is going through such change and challenge that home health-agency providers are feeling a lot of fiscal pressure, and they’re having a very hard time coping with the wage mandate.”
The article states that the push to raise the minimum wage is,
“backed by the Service Employees International Union, [and] the effort seeks to replicate the “Fight for 15,” a push earlier this year to raise the income of fast-food workers through high-profile strikes…
Home health aides can’t entirely replicate the fast-food workers’ tactics. Unlike someone flipping burgers, they can’t just walk off the job: That would leave those they care for — the nation’s parents and grandparents — in danger. And crucially, although most low-wage workers battle big corporations, home health-care workers usually are dealing with a different beast: the state, which ultimately pays their wages….
One of the biggest complications is that in their “fight for $15,” home health aides aren’t fighting a large corporation. About three quarters are paid through Medicaid, which means that higher wages are a blow to public budgets, not shareholders.
By and large, however, states haven’t been increasing budgets to keep pace. New York state, for example, cut its home health-care budget by hundreds of millions of dollars in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, it imposed a wage mandate for the New York metropolitan area that reached $14.09 in pay and benefits in March.”
To read the full article, please click here.