The New York Times reported last week on lobbying efforts by nursing home owners which is seeking to create an exemption for themselves in the new national healthcare law. In other words, nursing home operators do not want to have to buy health insurance for their own care workers. Sadly it is unsurprising that these big operators would take this step considering many of them in our area already have no qualms about cutting corners in total staffing numbers, leading to Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect.
According to the new law which seeks to provide coverage to all those who have previously been unable to afford coverage, all employers who have 50 or more full-time employees will be required to offer affordable health insurance or risk a penalty. This rule takes effect in 2014.
However many experts believe that Congress should not allow these nursing homes to get out of providing healthcare to their employees. Beyond fairness to the employees, the health and well-being of the nursing home residents are affected.
One advocate explains, “If employees have health insurance, they are more likely to be treated for illnesses, less likely to pass on infections to nursing home residents and more likely to get early treatment for occupational injuries.”
Home care providers are also seeking a similar exemption. In total, an industry group explains that about 26% of front-line nursing home works and 37% of home care agents are without their own health insurance. Nursing assistants, for example, usually earn $10 to $12 an hour and often are unable to afford healthcare costs.
Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti know that all too often these facilities place profit over superior care. The manner in which these homes are lobbying for special treatment by the government mirrors the disregard that so many facilities have for ensuring their residents are not at risk of death or injury caused by inadequate care.
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