Hawaii’s US Senator Mazie K. Hirono joined colleagues in introducing a bill that would expand access to long-term care and allow older adults and people with disabilities to receive quality care while remaining in their communities.
According to a press release, the Better Care Better Jobs Act would improve Medicare funding for home care and help many of the more than 650,000 people on waitlists nationwide to receive care in the area of their choice.
Millions rely on Medicaid’s home and community-based services, and hundreds of thousands are still waiting to get the support they need, Hirono said in the press release.
“By expanding HCBS services, this law will allow more people in Hawaii and across the country to access the care they need at home and in the community,” she said. “It’s in Hawaii Better Care Better Jobs Act would create nearly 1,500 new home care jobs, increase caregiver wages and allow over 3,000 family caregivers to return to the labor market.”
The legislation, led by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), would also empower caregivers, improve families’ quality of life and boost the economy by creating good-paying jobs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to receive quality long-term care in an environment that meets their needs and preferences, and the vast majority of Americans prefer to receive such care and get support at home. said the publication.
While all states provide coverage some Home care services have significant differences and gaps in coverage due to different entitlement and benefit standards.
Home care workers – most of whom are women and people of color – earn an average wage of $13 an hour with little or no benefits while providing life support care. About 18% of these workers live in poverty. This results in exceptionally high annual turnover rates, estimated at over 60%.
the Better Care Better Jobs Act would raise pay rates to encourage hiring and retention of direct caregivers, increase wages, and develop and update training opportunities. The legislation would assist the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide oversight and encourage innovation that benefits direct caregivers and care recipients.