Update October 21st: Big Government has yet another update here.
Update October 12th: Big Government has an update here.
For some time now I’ve been thinking about several strands of information that appeared interwoven, but exactly how I wasn’t sure. I still don’t have all the pieces but I’m getting closer thanks to two bits of information this week—one from Kathleen Parker, the other from a Catholic blogger in Illinois.
This is what I already knew: the Service Employees International Union was/is organizing Somalis* (probably other immigrants too), and Somalis have been implicated in at least Maine and Minnesota (this post has links to both stories) with home health care fraud. Basically, how that works is the former refugees and immigrants set up home health care businesses where they get paid by the taxpayer to ‘take care of’ family and friends whose medical issues may be dubious at best. The original concept—keeping people out of nursing homes—was probably a good one, but it has become an enormous arena for health care fraud.
Here is a New York Times article from last spring about the financial overload of the Minnesota system for home health care thanks to the Somalis.
Somali patients have been asking them to fill out forms stating that they need personal-care assistants. Some do not need the help, Dr. Pryce said, but are being egged on by Somali-run health care agencies that want to collect insurance payments for the services.
Somalis in Minneapolis, often entrepreneurial and business minded, have opened the agencies to take advantage of relatively generous rules in Minnesota that were originally meant to help keep the elderly and chronically ill out of nursing homes.
Tricia Alvarado, director of home care for the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency, which evaluates requests for home help, agreed that there had been an explosion of Somali agencies, with 100 or so opening in just the last three years. Many are run by people without any medical training. And Ms. Alvarado confirmed that the agencies were putting a hard sell on potential clients.
The current situation with the Somalis is part of a larger problem in Minnesota: the number of clients, and the costs of personal care, more than doubled from 2002 to 2008, and the number of agencies more than tripled. A report in January by the state legislative auditor said, “Personal care services remain unacceptably vulnerable to fraud and abuse”; the state is drawing up plans to tighten its control of the services.
Now jump to Kathleen Parker yesterday, here. (Yes, Ms. Parker is one of the faux conservatives who criticized Sarah Palin and loved Obama in 2008. I guess we should be happy she has finally figured out what’s going on.) I’ll get to the point I was most interested in shortly, but to set the stage here is some of the beginning of her colunm.
While everyone in Washington is suddenly pretending they’ve hardly ever heard of ACORN, they might want to pretend they’ve never heard of the SEIU, one of the nation’s largest unions.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and the Service Employees International Union are as tight as Heidi Klum and a new pair of jeans.
You also don’t talk about either organization without mention of Wade Rathke, co-founder of ACORN and founder of SEIU Local 100 in New Orleans. Rathke, who resigned from ACORN last year as “chief organizer” after it became known that his brother embezzled almost $1 million from the association, continues to run Local 100, as well as ACORN International, recently renamed Community Organizations International.
Now picture a triangle. One point is ACORN; another point is the SEIU; the third point is the taxpayer. Now picture arrows flowing back and forth, representing the exchange of greenbacks and services.
Parker goes on to tell us that in Kansas last week, the State declined to give SEIU the names of all the people in the state caring for people at home! Good for Kansas!
Just last week, the Kansas City Star reported that two state agencies acting on an SEIU public records request sought to identify in-home health workers who care for the elderly and disabled. After complaints, the state acknowledged that it was under no legal obligation to provide the information and ceased helping the SEIU. Unionizing is not a state function, needless to say. And never mind the invasion of privacy.
Now, skipping over to Illinois where unionizing is obviously a state function,we begin to see the pieces coming together. Parker goes on to tell us that the SEIU has had success in the land of Obama with finding out who provides home health care there.
One needn’t be a mathematician to imagine what a national health-care option might mean to a union in search of new dues-paying recruits. The SEIU, which has promised “to fight tooth and nail” for a public option, is demonstrably persuasive. In Illinois, former governor Blagojevich (thank you for your patience) helped position the SEIU so that it could unionize health-care workers when he signed an executive order allowing collective bargaining.
If you are still scratching your head and asking, o.k. so how does the SEIU get more dues-paying members out of this, the Catholic blogger I mentioned in my opening paragraph (not some big name blogger, just apparently some local lady) provides the shocking answer.
Southern Illinois Catholic says:
Pat Quinn [present Illinois governor] passed a horrible pr[o]-union law that permits the unionization of private individual caregivers. That is parents, eg, of disabled persons. Guess what? If the person votes against unionizing, but a majority of persons vote for a union, all caregivers will owe union dues–for the responsibility of caring for their own child! Illinois is apparently NOT a right to work state.
The state money that a family gets for the disabled person’s care will go in the pocket of a labor union. Insane. The goal which will appeal to families is that the union is going to lobby the state government for higher stipends for the disabled person, from which the union will, thank you very much, take its cut. Terrible for all Illinois taxpayers. This is abominable. Join a special interest group for disabled person’s families and caregivers, not a union.
It looks like it’s going to come to pass, however, at this point. Horrible. Horrible. The unions starved for membership, exploit families of disabled persons.
Be sure to read the news article linked at Southern Illinois Catholic.
So what does the SEIU do with all its taxpayer funds? It works to elect people who believe in their socialist world view—like Obama.
Update minutes later: Big Government has more on SEIU/ACORN/Illinois here.
*For new readers: The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing. Somalis are ideal candidates to work with SEIU!