WSJ rightly credits Freedom Foundation for crackdown on Medicaid dues skimming

WSJ rightly credits Freedom Foundation for crackdown on Medicaid dues skimming

WSJ rightly credits Freedom Foundation for crackdown on Medicaid dues skimming

Giving credit where it’s due, the Wall Street Journal on July 3 published a story about the Trump administration’s decision to more rigorously enforce a long-ignored federal law making it illegal for states to deduct union dues on behalf of homecare providers being compensated by Medicaid.

And the article correctly noted that the action is the brainchild of the Freedom Foundation’s director of labor policy, Maxford Nelsen.

“Mr. Nelsen, the conservative group’s policy director, said he was combing through the federal code two years ago when he found a 1972 law that said Medicaid payments must be paid directly to providers. He said he brought the law to the attention of Trump administration officials.

The 1972 law was intended to prevent fraud, but it also makes it illegal to deduct dues on behalf of a union, Mr. Nelsen said. According to a study by the group, eight states received nearly $150 million in dues from 358,000 home-care workers receiving Medicaid payments in 2017.”

The article also included a quote from the lead plaintiff in one of the Freedom Foundation’s more prominent lawsuits against SEIU.

“Miranda Thorpe, 54 years old, of Redmond, Wash., said she had dues that amounted to 3 percent of her wages withheld without her consent four years ago when she was taking care of her daughter who was born with a developmental disability.

‘The money is going to the state, and the state is making sure that the union is getting a part of it,’ said Ms. Thorpe. When she complained that she didn’t want to belong to the union, the dues collection stopped, she said.”

In response, SEIU spokesperson Meghan Finnegan described actually enforcing a law that was first passed by a Democrat Congress during the Nixon administration a “very transparent attack on a particular group of workers.”

The tougher standard is scheduled to go into effect on July 5.

Vice President for News and Information
Jeff is a native of West Virginia and a graduate of West Virginia University with a degree in journalism. He served in the U.S. Army at Fort Lewis, Wash., as a broadcast journalist and has worked at a number of newspapers in West Virginia and Washington. Most recently, he spent 11 years as editor of the Port Orchard (Wash.) Independent, which earned the 2011 Washington Newspaper Publishers’ Association’s General Excellence Award as the top community newspaper in Washington. Previously, he was editor of the Business Examiner newspaper in Tacoma, Wash., for seven years. Jeff lives in Lacey; he and his wife have grown twin daughters.