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Booker, Menendez, Hirono Lead More Than 40 Lawmakers in Raising Concerns About Proposed Change in Medicaid Reimbursements That Could Severely Hurt Home Care Workers

More than 90 percent of home care workers are women, more than 50 percent are people of color

August 20, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) today led a bicameral letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) raising concerns about a rule change proposed by the Trump Administration last month that could severely hurt home care workers, including by limiting their ability to join a union to advocate for better wages, benefits, and workplace protections. The proposed change would threaten to limit the ability of home care workers to maintain or access health care, worker protections, and other benefits they accrue from union membership. Currently, union dues are deducted from the Medicaid reimbursements workers receive as payment for services they provide.

In the letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the lawmakers -- members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus -- raised specific concerns about the disparate impact this rule change could have on women and communities of color, given the fact that more than 90 percent of home care workers are women and more than 50 percent are people of color.

“We are concerned that the Administration’s proposed rule may make it more difficult for independent home care workers to join together in unions and improve their jobs,” the lawmakers state in the letter. “This will disproportionately harm people of color. Rather than create barriers that may further disenfranchise home care workers from having a voice about their jobs and workplace, we should be developing policies to help empower these workers to receive fair compensation for the essential services they provide.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

In addition to Booker, Menendez, and Hirono, today’s letter was also signed by the following lawmakers:

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI).

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY)

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD)

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)

Rep. José Serrano (D-NY)

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)

Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA)

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX)

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA)

Rep. J. Luis Correa (D-CA)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA)

Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA)

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)

Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL)

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA)

Rep. André Carson (D-IN)

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)

Rep. Nanette Dias Barragán (D-CA)

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA)

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA)

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA)

Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP)

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)

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