NAHC and Allies Urge House of Representatives to Pass RAISE Family Caregivers Act
September 27, 2016 03:55 PM
Earlier this month the National Association of Home Care & Hospice co-signed a letter with 53 other organizations to urge the House of Representatives to pass the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (H.R. 3099). NAHC would like to see the House advance the RAISE Act in the few days left in this Congress before members recess and return to their districts to campaign.
The bipartisan legislation passed the Senate last year and has 124 co-sponsors in the House. It needs 218 votes to pass the House. The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would:
Implement the federal Commission on Long-Term Care’s bipartisan recommendation that Congress require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers.
Create an advisory body to bring together relevant federal agencies and others from the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations.
Identify specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers and be updated annually.
The legislation is based on a recommendation by the bipartisan Commission on Long-Term Care to develop a national plan to support family caregivers.
The role of family caregivers is crucial in caring for many seniors and disabled individuals in their homes. The most recent estimates show about 40 million family caregivers in the United States provided approximately 37 billion hours of care to adults in 2013, according to a report released by the AARP’s Public Policy Institute. The estimated economic value of the unpaid contributions of family caregivers was about $470 billion in 2013, up from approximately $450 billion in 2009.
However, the ratio of potential family caregivers to the growing number of older people is in a precipitous decline. In 2010, there were seven potential caregivers available for each person 80 or older; by 2030 there will be only four, and by 2050, when baby boomers are between 86 and 104, there will be fewer than three.
Caring for an elderly or disabled relative carries a financial toll, both in terms of lost income and additional expenses. Those who care for people with Alzheimer’s disease typically spend more than $50,000 a year on expenses related to their duties. Developing a national plan to help care for the elderly and disabled is critical to the nation’s long-term fiscal and healthcare future, as well as a powerful moral imperative. By supporting family caregivers we help people stay out of hospitals and nursing homes and remain in their homes, which is where they want to be. This will save money for both families and taxpayers.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) strongly supports this bill, as well as other legislation providing greater support to family caregivers. NAHC also recommends that Congress pass legislation to expand respite care and provide tax incentives for family caregivers.
The text of the letter is available here.