Trump is cutting off big labor from skimming Americans’ Medicaid payments and unions are furious

DCNFTim Pearce, DCNF

(Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is blistering at a proposed regulation that would prevent the union from siphoning fees from American workers’ Medicaid payments.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a proposed rule Tuesday that would require Medicaid payments to go directly to healthcare workers, ending a 2014 Obama-era rule that let third parties, such as unions and insurance companies, skim off a share of the paycheck before the worker saw any of it.

The SEIU, one of the largest public-sector unions in the U.S., referred to the proposed rule “as part of the [Trump] administration’s broad, coordinated attack against working people.”

“The proposed rule targets these home care workers and is designed to stop them from contributing their own wages to support their union in the same way that teachers, police and firefighters do,” the SEIU said in a statement. “This proposal is a transparent attempt to interfere with workers’ freedom to choose to join together in a union and advocate for higher wages, better training, and basic benefits like affordable healthcare and paid sick time that are crucial to ensure quality home care for our parents, grandparents and children.”

Though the Obama rule legalizing the practice went into effect in 2014, unions have been skimming money from Medicaid payments for nearly two decades, according to Freedom Foundation director for labor policy Maxford Nelson.

The practice has netted unions billions of dollars from public-sector home healthcare workers forced to pay union dues or “agency fees” equivalent to 85 percent of a dues payment to cover the cost of representation for non-members.

“It is very heartening to see this administration taking the first practical steps to stop states and unions from deducting money from the Medicaid checks of home caregivers serving our society’s disabled and elderly,” Nelson told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “This illegal and exploitive practice has victimized hundreds of thousands of caregivers. It has only been allowed to persist because it generated significant funds for a politically-connected special interest group.”

The Supreme Court ruled in June that “agency fees” violated public-sector employees’ right to free speech for forcing them to subsidize government lobbying, in the form of union representatives negotiating with government officials, that they did not agree with.

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