Photo of Capitol Building in Washington, DC

Organizations supporting seniors and home care workers hailed the $1.85 trillion budget finalized Thursday between the Biden administration and House Democrats.

“The home care community extends its great appreciation for the support of Medicaid HCBS and look forward to reviewing all the details of the plan,” William Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, said in a statement. “It is gratifying to see this strong recognition of the importance and value of home care.”

While the deal dramatically cut the amount the Biden administration had originally sought for home-and-community-based services — from $400 billion to $150 billion — it contains a long list of  items to help seniors and their care providers. There’s $450 million for the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program and other investments, $1 billion for direct care workforce competition grants, $440 million to support unpaid caregivers of older adults and $20 million to support hospice and palliative care nursing.

“This is a historic step to address the critical needs of older Americans and their families,” Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of the senior service nonprofit LeadingAge, said in a statement. “We can’t let up now. The number of Americans 65 and older will more than double over the next 40 years, and half of us will need long-term services and supports as we age. Without further investments in our aging services infrastructure, too many older adults will not have their basic needs met.”  

PHI National, a nonprofit supporting the elderly and disabled, said it was disappointed the plan does not include paid family leave. But PHI President Jodi Sturgeon nonetheless called the budget historic.

“Direct care workers are essential to millions of older adults and people with disabilities across the country, and today the federal government acknowledged this value by enacting a sweeping investment in these essential workers,” Sturgeon said. “We applaud President Biden and Congress for their remarkable leadership on the direct care workforce.”