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Rich Fiesta

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Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Rich Fiesta joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and discussed ongoing staffing issues at nursing homes throughout the U.S. Fiesta also talked about nursing home staffing regulations in individual states and the fight to decrease the cost of prescription drugs.

Across the nation, nursing homes struggle to maintain adequate staffing levels as more senior citizens, an estimated one in three according to multiple studies, require long-term care. Fiesta said the Baby Boomers are retiring in record numbers - nearly 10,000 a day. Understaffed and underpaid, the nursing home employees are doing what they can as they struggle with sub-par work environments, Fiesta said.

There is hope for the nursing homes staff, Fiesta explained. The Office of Management and Budget is currently performing a regulatory review on a nationwide rule to improve standards in nursing homes. Despite states managing licenses, the federal government can place minimum standards on staffing levels that states must meet. Fiesta cited a study that found that unionized nursing homes outperform non-union homes. As a result, he believes regulated staffing requirements for union nursing homes make a major difference. Staffing levels were bad during the pandemic and have only gotten worse. He argues this issue could be solved with a mandatory national standard.

Fiesta then spoke about the battle to lower prescription drug costs in America. “Big Pharma” has sued the federal government, claiming President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act has taken away their profits. In reality, the Inflation Reduction Act forces Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Fiesta thinks the lawsuits will not stand a chance in court. Instead, he believes “Big Pharma” is attempting to slow down the regulations by filing multiple lawsuits in a desperate attempt to overturn the law.

Listen to the entire episode to learn more.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

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