May 13th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson in a strongly worded letter urged Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to rescind a controversial ruling by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandating that California rescind some $74 million in pay cuts to home health care workers as a condition for receiving $6.8 billion in supplemental Medicaid funds.
According to Wilson, the Center action came in direct response to collusion with officials at the Service Employees International Union.
“It is clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Obama Administration is engaging in thuggish aggression of the worst order at the behest of union bosses and at the expense of representative government,” said Wilson in a statement.
On May 11th, the LA Times reported that Sebelius is considering an appeal from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to overturn an April 30th ruling from the Center of Medicare and Medicaid mandating that some $74 million in cuts to home health care workers pay by California scheduled for July 1st be rescinded.
California’s receipt of some $6.8 billion in federal stimulus, supplemental Medicaid money has now been conditioned upon the cut, which reduces the state’s maximum contribution to home health workers’ pay from $12.10 per hour to $10.10.
According to Wilson’s letter to Sebelius, “The State of California, through its elected Legislature with agreement from the Governor, decided on a series of actions to reduce government expenditures. This reduction is critically important. The State is in deep debt, has already increased taxes to the point of diminishing returns, and is facing further erosion in its business base.”
California currently faces a $21.3 billion budget shortfall should a statewide ballot initiative fail on May 19th.
“As a private, third party,” Wilson wrote, “SEIU participated in a conference call [on April 15th] between the Center of Medicare and Medicaid and the State of California where the Center threatened to withhold emergency stimulus funds from California unless the demands of the union were met.”
The letter continues, “Madam Secretary, for an agency under your control to threaten a State government as a service to a private organization—and the SEIU is a private organization—smacks of favoritism to a degree not seen in Washington since the days of the Teapot Dome scandal.”
“The act by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services vindicates Governors Mark Sanford, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, and anyone else that refused federal ‘stimulus’ money,” Wilson added.
Several governors across the country have opted not to take the federal “stimulus” funds for their states. At the time, they said it was because federal funds come with strings attached.
Wilson says he believes that the threats against California are only the beginning. “A definite pattern is emerging. First, the Obama Administration gave a union that only held 10 percent of Chrysler’s bonds a 55 percent stake in the company in bankruptcy using threats, and now, a state is being threatened with its Medicaid funding to keep the pay of union workers at current levels.”
Wilson contends that the threats by the federal government against California endanger all states. “If the federal government gets away with this, the precedent will be that unions can simply get what they want out of the states with federal agencies doing their bidding,” Wilson concluded.
Interview Availability: Please contact Alex Rosenwald at (703)383-0880 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.