President Biden unveiled a $2 trillion, eight-year infrastructure plan on Wednesday with a nod to the needs of older adults and the long-term care industry. The first phase of the president’s American Jobs Plan, detailed in a 25-page briefing paper and discussed in an afternoon speech in Pittsburgh yesterday, aims to overhaul and upgrade America’s physical infrastructure and elevate health and senior care to “infrastructure” status.
Referring to the plan as a “once-in-a-generation investment in America,” one of the largest investments includes more than $200 billion in tax credits and grants to improve and build affordable housing, including housing specifically for seniors, and improvements to the nation’s veterans’ homes. The plan sets aside $100 billion to ensure broadband access to all Americans and also includes $400 billion to expand access to caregiving for older adults and those with disabilities to improve pay and benefits for caregivers, a move praised by Argentum President and CEO James Balda.
“We applaud the Biden administration for making such a significant commitment toward improving care and services for seniors in the infrastructure package unveiled today,” Balda said in a statement. “It’s no secret that America is aging and we’ll need to prepare today for the demands of tomorrow — and that requires significant investments in a variety of areas from infection control and prevention to capital projects to telehealth and technology enhancements, and beyond.”
Last week, Katie Smith Sloan, LeadingAge president and CEO, urged lawmakers to prioritize the provision of internet access in affordable housing to ensure that the more than 2.2 million older adults who live in federally subsidized buildings have basic internet access.
Balda added that as senior living providers were “largely left behind” in Provider Relief Fund disbursements and in the American Rescue Plan Act, this financial investment in their future, and the future of seniors and caregivers, is “more important than ever.”
“Without this essential support, providers will be forced to make even more difficult decisions on continuing operations after weathering the pandemic, leaving an enormous financial burden on taxpayers,” he concluded.
The president signaled during the speech that the plan would be paid for by permanently raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, which would unwind the lower corporate rate put in place by the Trump administration.