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Advocates for direct care workers say state should spend some of surplus on salaries

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In theory, "direct primary care" should result in better health for patients and lower health care costs overall. But some analysts say that approach just encourages the worried well to get more care than they need.

With Michigan looking at a six-billion-dollar budget surplus, advocates for people with physical and mental disabilities say the state needs to spend some of that money on direct care workers.

According to a coalition of groups that advocate for people with disabilities, the average salary for a direct care worker is just over fourteen dollars an hour.

The coalition says there are many other jobs with higher starting wages available now. Plus, workers face rising gas prices, inflation, and higher costs of living.

For those reasons, the coalition says an existing shortage of direct care workers will only grow worse, leaving vulnerable people and their families without the care they need.

They’re urging lawmakers to appropriate at least 127-million dollars from the state’s general fund to boost care worker salaries.