Consumers in Jeopardy: More Choices for Less Money


From an article in today's New York Times about the growing "grey market" in home health care services for elderly parents:

Gray-market hiring…is largely a financial decision to avoid the fees of home-care agencies, where perhaps $9 of the $20 hourly fee goes to the aide. In a gray-market arrangement, the aide might get $12, a 33 percent increase — although sometimes without benefits, worker's compensation or Social Security — leaving a family able to afford additional hours.

But the Times manages to find the downside:

"Consumers are always in jeopardy when there's an opportunity to make a lot of money," said Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association of Home Care, who 40 years ago was chief counsel to the Senate Committee on Aging.

NEXT: Pagan Precedent

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  1. My favourite New York Times caption this week:

    “While English classes are free, there is a many month waiting list”

  2. My family used such a service to allow my grandmother to stay at home for the last two years of her life. The service wasn’t exactly a guarantee of quality. If the family is in town, and can keep closer tabs on the healthcare provider, I don’t see why this would be an issue.

  3. This is just a wild guess, but is Mr. Halamandaris advocating goverbment action to protect his group (and their rate of return) from this evil cut-rate competition?

  4. I saw that one terren. That is what an Ivy League education will do for you.

    Of course Mr. Halamandaris wants government action. He wants government action to save his rich corporate masters from competition from the littel guy and he will probably get it. There are few bigger myths out there than the idea that government regulation benifits the little guy. Government regulation nearly always creates entry barriers and protects the big guy, which is why big business loves big government.

  5. Anyone who is speaking for a National Association of (Insert Professional Organization) should normally be ignored

  6. Why does Reason hate old folks?

  7. > Consumers are always in jeopardy when there’s an opportunity to make a lot of money…

    Because consumers are so much better off when there’s not an opportunity to make a lot of money. You know, like the Soviet Union or the Congo or Cuba or…

  8. “Consumers are always in jeopardy when there’s an opportunity to make a lot of money.”

    This sentence is entirely correct if we put a period after the word “jeopardy” and delete the rest of the sentence.

  9. Why does Reason hate old folks?

    Because they have their hands so deep in my pockets they can tie my shoes?

  10. I thought we hated old people because of the food in the corners of their mouth and that smell.

  11. Two sides to every coin?on one hand it’s good that people without a ton of money can still hire people to care for them when they get old. On the other hand it sucks that unless you have a ton of money you’ve got to settle for substandard care.

  12. “It was not through agencies in Manhattan that provide home health aides who are bonded, insured and certified.”

    As if this makes a difference. If an agency is swamped with calls and can charge $20 per hour while paying only $9, they don’t really care about the quality of the employees, and they don’t have a reason to.

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