Senators: Investment in HCBS would drive economic growth, create good caregiving jobs and meet the health care needs of older adults and people with disabilities
Washington, D.C. – Today, 31 U.S. Senators, led by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) are urging the Biden Administration to push forward with investments in home and community-based services (HCBS), building on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and Build Back Better Jobs and Recovery plan. Senators Casey, Booker and their colleagues sent a letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris, detailing their support for these plans to fight the effects of COVID-19 and bolster the economy, emphasizing the urgent need to advance the Administration’s proposal to invest in Medicaid home and community-based services.
“As a critical component of your Build Back Better Plan, this investment in HCBS would create a robust caregiving system, while also driving sustainable economic growth and meeting the health care needs of our Nation’s rapidly aging population. It would help propel the country’s economy out of the pandemic-induced recession by increasing employment and enabling those receiving services to participate in their communities. It would transform low-paid caregiving jobs into family-sustaining occupations with higher wages, benefits and the opportunity to join a union. These outcomes would also advance racial and gender equity, given that the caregiving profession is disproportionately supported by Black women, other women of color and immigrants. Finally, such an investment would support people with disabilities, older adults and family caregivers with the supports they need to live the lives they wish to lead,” the Senators wrote.
Earlier this year, Senator Casey introduced the COVID HCBS Relief Act of 2021, which would provide a 10 percent Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) increase to states to be used to enhance HCBS; funds can be used to support front-line workers with increased pay, paid sick and family medical leave and personal protective equipment, among other essential supports. Since March 2020, Senator Casey has also introduced three other bills to invest in HCBS. Seniors and people with disabilities are uniquely vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus; people with developmental disabilities have died from COVID-19 at a rate of three times higher than the general population. Currently, more than 800,000 people nationwide are waiting to receive HCBS, with nearly 16,000 in Pennsylvania.
In addition to Senators Casey and Booker, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chris Murphy (D-MD), Angus King (I-ME) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI).
Read the letter here.