The Biden administration is expected to unveil a comprehensive plan Tuesday aimed at supporting care workers and family caregivers.
The executive order includes more than 50 directives to nearly every cabinet-level agency to expand access to “affordable high-quality care.” The list of initiatives includes:
- Improve access to home-based care for veterans by calling on the Veterans Administration to expand its Veteran Directed Care Program to all 172 VA centers by the end of fiscal year 2024. The program provides veterans a budget to hire personal care assistants, including family members.
- Enhance job quality for long-term care workers by leveraging Medicaid funding to ensure there are enough caregivers for seniors and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicaid.
- Support family caregivers by testing a new dementia support model that would include respite care for family caregivers, and make it easier for family caregivers to access Medicare beneficiary information and provide more support to family caregivers during the hospital discharge planning process.
- Advance domestic workers’ rights by requiring the Department of Labor to a sample employment agreement direct care workers and their employers better understand their rights and responsibilities.
The administration said the cost of long-term care for the elderly has increased approximately 40% in the past decade, while the cost of child care has increased roughly 20%. Meanwhile, the direct care industry has been struggling to attract caregivers due to low wages and skimpy benefits.
“Care workers, who are disproportionately women of color, struggle to make ends meet, and turnover rates are high. In addition, at least 53 million Americans serve as family caregivers — including over 5 million caring for service members or veterans — and many face challenges due to lack of support, training and opportunities for rest,” the White House said in a fact sheet laying out the order.
Caregiver advocates hailed the executive order as a potentially transformative policy shift.
“This unprecedented and historic executive order shifts the way the federal government conducts its business by leveraging the knowledge of care advocates, investing in data-proven ways to improve access to care, and supporting the work of care so it is both visible and valued,” Ai-jen Poo, executive director of Caring Across Generations, said in a statement.
The administration, which also issued directives for nursing homes, said it will call for investments to support caregiving in its 2024 budget.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.