Disabled Community Urges Congress to Boost Home-Care Infrastructure
Thursday, August 12, 2021
DENVER -- As infrastructure legislation makes its way through Congress, advocates for people with disabilities are urging lawmakers to boost investments for in-home care programs that would allow more people to avoid placement in nursing homes.
Christiano Sosa, executive director for Arc of Colorado, said the Better Care Better Jobs Act would dramatically improve quality of life for people with disabilities.
Sosa pointed out the proposal would raise wages for caregivers, and provide benefits including paid family leave, which will help make direct care work a viable career path and reduce turnover.
"One of the things that we hear loud and clear from individuals with disabilities and families is that it's almost a full-time job just training the new person," Sosa observed.
Caregiver reimbursements have not kept up with inflation or even local minimum wages, and Sosa sees the proposed $400 billion investment in Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services as an important step to reverse decades of underfunding.
Congress has remained divided along party lines over so-called human infrastructure investments. Republicans say the price tag is too high, and worry it would lead to bigger government.
Lack of funding has led to long waiting lists for rationed in-home care services, which leaves many no choice but to turn to nursing homes.
Henry Claypool, policy director for the Community Living Policy Center at Brandeis University, said blocking the proposal would be penny-wise but pound-foolish. States are required to accept nursing-home residents regardless of their ability to pay, which costs taxpayers exponentially more than community-based care.
Claypool believes the proposal is ultimately about giving people more options.
"If you're in an institution like a nursing home, you're not able to get up and go when you want, you're totally dependent on when the staff can get to you," Claypool explained. "Most Americans really want to stay in their homes, and this is an important investment to make that happen."
Sosa noted if Congress does not invest in community-care options, the burden will continue to fall on unpaid family caregivers, which historically have been women and people of color. Sosa added the legislation should also boost recovery from the pandemic's economic fallout by providing good jobs for direct-care workers, and allowing family caregivers to rejoin the workforce.
get more stories like this via email
Programs intended to reduce the chances that someone will end up back behind bars are working, according to a new analysis of California state data…
Arizona is gearing up for its presidential preference election that takes place in less than a month, and registered Democrats and Republicans were …
You might say "every day is 'bring your child to college day'" at New Hampshire's Manchester Community College. On-campus childcare programs are …
By Elizabeth Ouzts for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Shanteya Hudson for North Carolina News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism…
The number of Black mothers in Ohio who die during or following pregnancy continues to climb and health advocates said they hope to shine a light on t…
It's been an uphill battle for childhood nutrition advocates to advance meal access policies in the South Dakota Legislature. However, organizers say …
A cooperative effort has seeded more than 26,000 acres in eastern Nevada. It's all in an effort to increase desirable grasses, forbs and shrubs while …
Texas postal customers, especially in rural areas, are experiencing delays in mail delivery, and some letter carriers feel it could get worse…