Andersson argues home care overtime bill would cost $12 million
Rep. Steven Andersson (R-Geneva) joined other House members on Thursday in questioning the wisdom of a bill that would remove a limit on the number of hours a home caretaker may work.
The measure, House Bill 3376, introduced by Deputy Majority Leader Louis Lang (D-Skokie), would amend the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities Act to allow consumers of the Department of Human Service’s Home Service Program to choose their own home care assistant and the number of hours that assistant may work per week. It also would remove the 40-hour-per-week limit on the assistant, allowing the helper to put in up to 55 hours per week save for some exceptions.
“The rationale I heard from the sponsor for the basis is that we want people in their home to be comfortable with their service providers," Andersson said. "That’s laudable. That’s appropriate. But the question is how much are we going to pay for that?”
Lang called it a humane bill, and while Andersson didn't disagree, he stressed that home care presents several difficulties and expenses.
“I think if you look at the reality of what happens … it’s that in these settings there are repeated changes of service providers," he said. "This is not typically a long-term continuity situation. I’ve had experience with this personally. It’s tough to find people who want to stay in these positions.”
Andersson also argued that the benefits don't outweigh the costs, estimating that the measure would cost the state close to $12.1 million in overtime premiums.
“Once again, ladies and gentlemen, we are about to spend money we don’t have for what is arguably something that while laudable is not essential to the care of these individuals,” he said. “Do they want the same person? Probably. Is that an absolute requirement that the state picks up another $12 million a year for? I respectively suggest that it is not.”
Lang countered that the bill is eligible for a 50 percent federal match, so the net cost would be $6 million.
HB3376 passed the House on a vote of 64 to 49 and is now in the Senate.
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