LETTER: Reject Proposition B, doesn't include standards for accountability

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 | 10:18 a.m. CDT; updated 10:46 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One issue on Missouri's ballot — Proposition B — will ask voters to decide whether the state should create a "Quality Home Care Council" to organize workers hired to provide personal care services. Voters should reject this proposition as "too good to be true."

Proposition B's clever wording masks its absence of standards for quality or public accountability — it does nothing new to improve either. At a time when taxpayers are demanding accountability, Proposition B would create a new agency that is free from regulation and oversight of taxpayer funds.

Proposition B implies that, if not passed, the elderly and disabled could no longer live independently in their homes. It purports to authorize collective bargaining for state-funded workers who provide personal care services — such as housekeeping, bathing and grooming assistance, dressing, meal preparation — under the state's Medicaid program. This helps explain why a national labor union is investing millions to promote the enactment of Proposition B. These services are vitally important to many disabled and elderly Missourians. However, the proposition has no explicit new protections for these vulnerable citizens.

Proposition B offers personal care services workers no safeguards to prevent the council from inside dealing. There is no appeal process for workers not on the approved list. Most importantly, taxpayers are not protected — the council would be an independent agency with no state oversight of its policies or regulatory functions. Finally, the proposition would reduce the standards for worker organizing to a level lower than federal law.

Missourians should expect the best in personal care home services. Proposition B is not what it appears. We urge Missourians to reject the proposal.

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