Overtime for live-in health companions, cont’d

by Walter Olson on September 25, 2013

Caleb Brown interviews me for a Cato podcast on the Administration’s new home-companion overtime rules, which could drive many elderly and disabled persons into nursing homes. Earlier here and here.


1 rxc 09.25.13 at 7:20 am

I wonder whether forcing the elderly into nursing homes is really considered to be a feature of this regulation, not a bug. It will force a LOT more people into those facilities, which are not set up to accept such large numbers. The level of care will suffer, there will be calls for more government intervention to ease the suffering of those people, a new bureaucracy will be needed, as well as more spending. The states will need to take over the nursing homes, and they will also ave to take charge of all of the wealth of the elderly, to pay for their care. There might even be an opportunity to create a new tax on the wealth of young people to pay for their future use of these facilities.

There is more potential mischief here than one CAN imagine…

2 Jim Collins 09.25.13 at 9:53 am

Not to mention more people needed to staff nursing homes, leading to more SEIU members.

3 MattS 09.25.13 at 9:57 am

“There is more potential mischief here than one CAN imagine…”

I don’t know, I can imagine an awful lot.

4 wfjag 09.25.13 at 11:18 am

“The level of care will suffer, there will be calls for more government intervention to ease the suffering of those people, . . .”

Which is why an increasingly common legal rep ad is “Have you or a loved one suffered injury, abuse, neglect or death due to improper care at a nursing home? Call _____ and learn about your rights to obtain compensation.” This appears to be a growth market for the Plaintiffs’ bar (and, so, also a growth market for the Defense bar).

No new bureaucracy or state take-over is needed — or sought. If a new bueaucracy or regs are created, the common law (e.g., is it “reasonable”) standard will be replaced by the standard adopted by the regs (which the industry will have a big hand in drafting). If there is a state take-over, then sovereign immunity questions arise, and given the financial condition of many states, it is likely that the law establishing state or local gov’t run nursiing homes and similar facilities will adopt sovereign immunity protections to limit claims on the public fisc.

So, the current situation is likely quite satisfactory to the most influential interest groups. Private nusring homes can, if they are well run, protect themselves by stringent hiring, training and supervision policies, and insurance. The fly-by-night nursing homes are in it to soak up the cash flows, and then disappear. Plaintiffs’ attorneys want to sue based on common law standards (which is fine with defense attorneys, since that results in more billable hours during the course of the defense). And, politicians can make speeches showing how “concerned” they are, and directing the police and gov’t regulators to shut down the most egregiously run places. It’s a win for everyone, who doesn’t have to live in one or have relatives they care about live in one.

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