Several U.S. senators encouraged the administration to fulfill its campaign pledge to invest $450 billion in Medicaid home- and community-based care. In a Friday letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris, 31 senators, led by Bob Casey (D-PA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), argued that such an investment would help lift the United States out of recession, advance racial and gender equity, and provide support to older adults.
“As a critical component of your Build Back Better Plan, this investment in HCBS would create
a robust caregiving system, while also driving sustainable economic growth and meeting the
health care needs of our Nation’s rapidly aging population. It would help propel the country’s
economy out of the pandemic-induced recession by increasing employment and enabling those receiving services to participate in their communities. It would transform low-paid caregiving jobs into family-sustaining occupations with higher wages, benefits and the opportunity to join a union. These outcomes would also advance racial and gender equity given that the caregiving profession is disproportionately supported by Black women, other women of color and immigrants. Finally, such an investment would support people with disabilities, older adults and family caregivers with the supports they need to live the lives they wish to lead,” they wrote.
Many home care workers face financial struggles, along with inadequate personal protective equipment, testing and “enforceable safety standards” during the pandemic, the letter continued.
“Your caregiving economic plan will provide direct support workers with the compensation and essential benefits they deserve. By strengthening the workforce, your plan also will provide the reliable supports needed by people with disabilities and older adults who wish to remain in their homes and communities,” the senators wrote.