A labor union representing Illinois home health care workers has filed legal action to force government payment of health insurance costs.
Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois filed suit in St. Clair County Circuit Court on Friday seeking a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Leslie Munger.
The union contends that they have refused to pay the government’s portion of health insurance costs despite a contractual obligation. It says the state owes $1.5 million from last year and $11.8 million since July. The union says if the state doesn’t pay up, the workers will lose insurance after Dec. 31.
* From an SEIU press release…
Despite a contract between home care workers in Illinois’ Home Services Program requiring the State to contribute health insurance benefits for workers, Gov. Rauner has refused to pay the State’s contribution to the workers’ health fund. Rauner’s administration owes the health fund $1.5 million from fiscal year 2015, as well as approximately $11.8 million for work already performed for the months of July through October in fiscal year 2016.
By violating the State’s legal obligation to make payments to the health fund, nearly 5,000 low-wage personal assistants are on the brink of losing their health insurance just as the Holiday Season begins. Most personal assistants are only given limited or part-time hours and make on average $15,000 to $18,000 annually.
To prevent this devastating harm to home care workers and to preserve the continuity of the workforce to provide services, SEIU Healthcare Illinois filed its Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order to protect the health insurance of its members.
If the State fails to honor its contractual obligations to continue health contributions for home healthcare workers, the workers will lose all of their health insurance after December 31st, 2015.
* I asked the governor’s office for a response…
Hi, Rich –
The state has no appropriation authority to pay the program because the majority party in the legislature has refused to pass a balanced budget.