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POLITICS

SEIU took $28M in 'dues' from Mich. Medicaid

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Michigan's Medicaid program has provided $28 million to the Service Employees Internation Union (SEIU) since 2007, as in-home health care providers paid through Medicaid -- which can include the parents of disabled children -- lose $30 per month to the union.

"The overwhelming majority of these dollars can be used for almost anything the SEIU desires," reports the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "including advertising, issue advocacy, lobbying, get out the vote efforts and other political purposes." During the 2010 election cycle, the SEIU spent over $15 million "on advertisements and other communications known as independent expenditures that overtly advocated for or against federal political candidates, with Democrats benefiting from almost all of them," according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., created this mechanism for siphoning union "dues" out of a subsidy program for the poor. The SEIU relies on the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) to deduct the money from the monthly Medicaid payments and send it to the union.

"MQC3 basically runs [a] program for SEIU and passes the union dues from the state to the union," Michigan Department of Community Health Director Olga Dazzo wrote in an email to staffers.

Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., ended another Granholm-era program that sent money to the UAW and AFL-CIO by treating in-home daycare providers as public employees.

The union "dues" make a noticeable impact on families with members that need in-home health care. As Robert Haynes, the father of two adult children with cerebral policy, said about the union deduction, "We're not even home health care workers. We're just parents taking care of our kids," he told the Mackinac Center. "Our daughter is 34 and our son is 30. They have cerebral palsy. They are basically like 6-month-olds in adult bodies. They need to be fed and they wear diapers. We could sure use that $30 a month that's being sent to the union."

Here's the annual data on Medicaid money sent to the SEIU, based on Michigan Department of Community Health information compiled by the Mackinac Center:

2007: $5,040,263

2008: $4,922,359

2009: $6,058,075

2010: $5,677,792

2011: $6,391,314

Add it up and you get $28,089,803.

 

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