As the son of aging parents, I have spent plenty of time thinking about Proposition B. If voter approve it, Prop B would establish a state entity charged with increasing the number and quality of home health care workers in Missouri — and, not incidentally, improving their training and benefits. Prop B would still let people choose and fire their own health assistants, but the state of Missouri would control wages and benefits. (Home health workers in Missouri currently make about $9 an hour — and most have no benefits.)
There are some things about which most people agree: the state’s population is aging, creating an increasingly urgent need for additional home health care workers in the near future; independent living under the least restrictive circumstances is often better and almost always less expensive than nursing home care; and the training, compensation, and screening of home health care workers in Missouri needs substantial improvement.
Will Prop B help or hinder these goals?
David Newburger, the City’s commissioner on the disabled, is an advocate of the proposal, calling it “a clear advance on the current system” and arguing that its passage will allow more older adults and people with disabilities to live at home, rather than being shuffled off to nursing homes.
And, David makes an important observation that should be required reading in homes in outstate Missouri , where some local commentators have editorialized against Prop B as “a big step toward socialism.” David answers that it is rural Missourians who are often displaced further from their families when they are forced to enter institutionalized care because of the absence of home health alternatives.
David is a good reader on these issues. Like him, I am going to vote for Proposition B.