WikiLeaks has captured what appears to be a discussion by some of Hillary Clinton’s domestic policy aides about a difficult health cost issue.
In April 2015, when the Democratic presidential nominee was still in the thick of the pre-primary process, the aides were talking about what they should say to the Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Washington-based Service Employees International Union, about improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of home health care workers.
Neera Tanden, a Clinton campaign health policy advisor, told Anne O’Leary, an aide with Clinton’s campaign, that SEIU leaders wanted to meet with people close to Clinton, according to an email exchange stored in the WikiLeaks database.
“They don’t have a specific ask, but they just want [their issues] to be raised,” Tanden writes.
In another email, Tanden writes, “Home health is a lot of money. SEIU generally tries to get more money into the sector. So they would generally like big investments here. Now they pushed hard for [long-term care] in [the Affordable Care Act] and it collapsed, so they are chastised and they don’t have a specific ask at the moment. But, as with almost any interest group, there’s a risk of some kind of big ask.”
Tanden here is referring to an ill-fated ACA voluntary long-term benefits program, which died when Medicare actuaries declined to certify that it was actuarially sound.
Clinton later appeared at an SEIU event with home health workers. She spoke warmly about the need to improve the workers’ conditions but refrained from making promises about specific promises.
Clinton said improving support for home care workers has to be part of preparing for an aging population.
“I think our highest obligation to one another is to take care of each other,” Clinton said at the time.
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