Your editorial on the funding issues associated with Options of Linn County (“Options for Options,” Dec. points out that the Options staff make an average $30 per hour (including benefits, about $21 of which is salary) whereas there is a statewide average “option” to get “similar” care for $10 to $13 per hour (salary only).
The former needs to be looked at in light of what we pay our county supervisors plus our city commissioner and the latter needs to be looked at by comparing it to what we pay fast food workers as well as the federal poverty standards and median salary data. Even when benefits are factored in and recognizing that there are fewer or no benefits provided for the lower-salary workers, and therefore, they qualify for federal (taxpayer) subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, the total savings potential by eliminating Options becomes rather trivial.
More to the point, the professional care provided by the Options staff is not simply replaced with non-dedicated staff. Furthermore, the average 20-year employee longevity among Options staff implies that not only are the clients being affected but also the dedicated staff and their families are severely affected, ultimately to the detriment of the taxpaying public.
I personally have seen the benefits provided by Options to at least two of their clients and seriously question whether there is a cost-effective solution that would provide anything approaching these. Clearly, our health care system is broken, but to even suggest that the solution is to reduce our costs by eliminating services without fixing the real core of the problem is ludicrous.
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