‘Better Care Better Jobs Act’ to Support, Uplift HCBS Workers

Better Care Better Jobs Act’ to Support HCBS Workers

The Home Care Industry is being backed up by those in power in the U.S. After the move made by the Biden administration, the bicameral group of lawmakers has come forward and unveiled new legislation i.e., ‘Better Care Better Jobs Act. The act will allow investing of billions of dollars in the home-based care industry.

Since the beginning of 2021, home-based care has been getting a large amount of coverage, not in the terms of write-ups, but in terms of strong funding. The goal of all parties backing the industry is to lift up the lives of caregivers and at the same time, ensure quality care delivery.

The debate of the role of caregivers in the nation’s development has been taking place since the pandemic hit the globe. If there is anything positive that the pandemic has brought forth is the realization of the value of services offered by the private-duty home care providers. President Joe Biden’s announcement for $400 Billion to boost the home care-based services was the initial step towards the betterment of the older population, home care service providers, and the entire nation.

What is Better Care Better Jobs Act?

The legislation is an initiative to uplift the lives of caregivers and the home care industry. It is sponsored by the U.S. Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Ron Wyden of Oregon, in addition to U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan.

The act strengthens the home care-based services in the country by funding states with money to enhance the home-based care programs and by curating some new policies.

As per the Home Health Care News, 12 months after the enactment of the act, the funding set aside for the home care industry will be distributed. This is large to support the low-wage workers, the majority of who include people of color and women.

Also, the legislation aims to make states eligible for a permanent increase to their federal Medicaid match of 10 percent and building upon the temporary bump built into the American Rescue Plan. Such an increase would help in accelerating home care-based gains by providing states a sense of stability.

As per the report, to be eligible for an increase in the 10 percent, states would have to adopt some of the practices like, expand the home care-based services eligibility requirements, offer support for family caregivers, and create and adopt programs to offer people long-term quality care.

Recruitment and retention have been a consecutive issue for home care-based agencies. So, to alleviate the matter and mitigate the negative impact it creates on the industry would require regular updating of the HCBS payment rates. Promoting recruitment and retention through sturdy and caregiver-friendly policies would help in solving the pressing issue being faced by the home care agencies.

Katie Smith Sloan, president, and CEO of Leading Age in a statement shared with HHCN said, “This bill would lead to better pay and other benefits for care professionals. This would provide some relief to more than 40 million Americans who provide unpaid care services to the elder population of the country.”

How will this bill impact the economy?

The expected increase in the demand of the home care industry is primarily because of factors like an increase in the population of baby boomers, markets getting flooded with the AI-induced advanced home care technology, and not to forget the support by the lawmakers of the country. Bringing in the bills and investing funds in the home care industry will also impact the economy.

Let us see how?

  • The act would make permanent both the spousal-impoverishment protections in Medicaid and the Money Follows the Person program.
  • Investment of $400 billion in the Home Care Based Services would create over 1.1 million jobs, which would include nearly 800,000 direct care jobs each year over the next 10, as per the National Domestic Workers Alliance estimates. This investment would also create an additional $40 billion in estimated new income for workers and their families.
  • It is predicted that by 2030, caregiving jobs would become the fastest-growing workforce in the American economy.

The administrator’s and lawmakers’ constant attention towards the home-based care industry amid the pandemic is a positive step towards the overall development of the industry as well the country’s economy.

The outset of COVID-19 has brought health challenges but has also sweetened the pot for the growth of the home care industry. The major reason is the increase in demand for long-term home care as well as the personal care services that would stay for a longer period.

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