Evers’ veto harms state’s most vulnerable citizens

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here’s a sample:

In light of the CNA shortage and the relative inelasticity of wages, the Republicans in the Legislature passed a bill to try to increase the number of available CNAs from other states. The bill was simple. Federal rules require that a CNA receive 75 hours of training with 16 hours of clinical experience. Wisconsin requires 120 hours of training with 32 hours of clinical experience. The bill that the Republicans in the Legislature passed would have allowed CNAs who meet the federal standard to work in Wisconsin.

Twenty other states use the federal standard including the neighboring states of Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan. There is no evidence that the additional 45 hours of training that Wisconsin requires has any appreciable impact on the quality of care. Not having enough CNAs in a facility to do the work definitely has a negative impact on the quality of care. By allowing CNAs who meet the federal standard to work in Wisconsin, it would have immediately increased the number of CNAs available — especially in areas near the western and northern borders.

Last week, Governor Evers vetoed the bill in its entirety. In his veto message, Evers said, “I object to providing less training for those who care for our state’s most vulnerable citizens,” despite any evidence that adopting the federal standard will harm care. One thing is certain: The quality of care is zero if nobody is available to provide the care.

While pronouncing concern for our state’s most vulnerable citizens, Governor Evers’ veto will harm them the most.