Categories: Woman

Roads Waterways and Home Health Aides? The Case For Biden’s Jobs Agenda

Photo Credit:HuffPost Parents

He recognizes that investing in the ‘care economy’ can lift incomes and unleash productivity, just like traditional infrastructure projects do.

economic agenda
, arguing they would create better, higher-paying jobs and unleash untapped potential for growth.
Now Biden is president, and his approach hasn’t changed. On Wednesday, he introduced the first half of what he has called his “Build Back Better” agenda. And although
he proposed big new spending on traditional infrastructure projects like bridges and waterways
, he also
proposed a dramatic increase in
federal support for “
home- and community- based services
Those are supports and services for elderly and disabled people who need help with daily living to stay out of nursing homes or other types of congregant care settings. In practical terms, that means everything from personal attendants who help seniors with bathing to counselors who help people with intellectual impairments find jobs so they can live on their own.
Biden’s caregiving proposal would likely represent the single largest investment in home- and community-based services for disabled and older people in American history.
More proposals are on the way. The second half of the Build Back Better agenda, which Biden plans to introduce later this month, is likely to include major new initiatives to make child care and preschool more widely available, as well as some kind of paid leave program.
And these do not appear to be token gestures. Wednesday’s home care proposals envision $400 billion in new federal spending, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the $2 trillion package Biden unveiled.
A meaningful initiative on child care and preschool would likely require hundreds of billions of dollars more.
Weak Support For Caregiving Is An Old Story In The U.S.
The primary case for these initiatives is that they make life easier on a day-to-day basis. That’s certainly true for the home- and community-based services Biden proposed on Wednesday to support.
Medicaid, the government health insurance program that states operate using federal funds and under federal guidelines, already pays for nursing homes and other forms of institutional care.

And there’s no pre-set limit on that spending. The more people who need the help, the more funding Medicaid provides.
Medicaid also pays for services at home and in the community, but with limited allotments that don’t rise with demand.
disparate treatment
is a legacy of the program’s history. When Democrats created Medicaid in 1965, during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, there was a much bigger push to keep older and disabled people in institutions ― and much less awareness of how many of them wanted to, and could, stay at home.
The lack of open-ended funding forces states to
cut off enrollment and put everybody else on waiting lists. Nationwide, about 800,000 people are now on those lists, and some have been for years.
a well-known fact that deters many others from even trying. Most experts think the actual unmet demand for home- and community-based services is closer to 1.5 million.
For decades, advocates have proposed
putting home-based care on an equal footing with institutional care
. That way, the choice between whether to stay at home or to go into a congregant living setting would be about the preferences and needs of individual people and their families ― not because of a financial disparity rooted in a decision lawmakers made half a century ago.
Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
A home health care aide steadies her client inside his home in Peabody, Massachusetts on Jan. 25, 2021. Ever since the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden has talked about having the government spend a lot more on caregiving ― for children, older adults and disabled people.
Biden didn’t offer many policy details on Wednesday. But the broad language he used in his proposal was basically a signal to lawmakers like Rep.

For More Details : HuffPost Parents


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