Monday, April 29, 2013

Kaiser Health News on Controversy Over the Companionship Exemption

Kaiser Health News has a decent piece today on the controversy over the companionship exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The Department of Labor is preparing rules that would narrow that exemption and extend minimum wage and overtime protections to more home-care aides.  The proposed rule has provoked opposition from home-care agencies, predictably.  It has also provoked opposition from many individuals with disabilities and disability rights organizations, who believe that (without increases in Medicaid reimbursements) it will make personal assistance unaffordable for many people with disabilities and drive them into institutions.  It's always seemed to me that there is room for a compromise here, but folks haven't gotten there yet.

The disability rights group ADAPT focused on this issue during its trip to DC last week; indeed, they shut down all the entrances to the Department of Labor building for a time.  So I was a bit displeased that the KHN article, which is otherwise quite well reported, did not include the voice of a single person with a disability or representative of a disability rights organization.

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