Lawmakers Block Home Care Wage Hike In Missouri

Missouri lawmakers have voted to block a proposed state agency rule that would increase wages for home care aides.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services seeks to raise the pay for home care attendants from $7.65 an hour to anywhere between $8.50 and $10.15.

The Missouri House on Wednesday approved the bill to stop the proposal, and the state Senate voted on the measure last month, the Associated Press reported. It now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon for final approval.

Home care workers receive their wages through the state’s Medicaid program and are usually employed by companies that contract with the state, according to the AP. Republicans argued that the agency doesn’t have the authority to raise pay for those workers, and that a wage increase should be up to the Legislature.

“What the resolution has to do with is an absolutely extraordinary overreach of executive power,” Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson said, adding that it’s “an overreach of executive power so broad, that if this Legislature fails to reject this rule, we might as well not exist.”

Democrats, however, countered that home care workers deserve to be paid more to reduce high turnover rates and reward more qualified workers.

“What they’re doing is harming low-income workers that are taking care of their mothers, their brothers, their sisters and their family members and loved ones that are ill and need care and help,” said Rep. Gina Mitten (D-St. Louis).

Nixon’s administration previously indicated support for a pay increase for home care workers and called for the rule change, the Associated Press reported. He could veto the bill, but it passed both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities.

Written by Kourtney Liepelt