Oct. 7, 2021
Washington D.C. – As Congress continues to negotiate a budget reconciliation bill that contains care economy, jobs and climate priorities, more than 100 U.S. economists and scholars from across the country call for more robust investment in long-term care. Such an investment would benefit seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers.
“We, the undersigned, agree that robust investments in home and community based services must be a part of any major economic legislation. Access to care services are a foundational part of our national infrastructure, and Congress should allocate a minimum of $250 billion in the reconciliation package to the HCBS program.”
“Investing in home care makes economic sense: it will create jobs, seniors and their families prefer it, it will reduce spending by shifting people out of nursing homes, and improve care outcomes.”
The full text of the letter—shared with Congress—is available on New America’s website.
“Proposed investments in home care are a rare opportunity to enhance the agency of several groups at once: care-seekers would have better options and greater independence; care workers would be paid well for higher quality jobs; and unpaid family caregivers would be given more freedom to pursue career and personal goals. This is about even more than increasing economic mobility — it is about dignity for all,” said Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics at Harvard University.
Betsey Stevenson--an economist, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and former member of the Council of Economic Advisers--also highlights the win for taxpayers. “Everyone wins when we invest in home care: people who need care have quality options. Professional caregivers get fair wages for socially important work. Taxpayers can rest assured that their tax dollars are spent on a form of care that is not only preferred by people, but is often the lower cost option.”
The urgency of increased investment in home- and community-based care is no longer in doubt, signers say, noting demographic shifts and a workforce--paid and unpaid--that is increasingly stretched too thin. The time is now, says New America CEO and author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family says. "Every day 10,000 Americans turn 65, entering a phase of life in which many of us will need daily care. If we fail to invest in home care--and the critical but deeply undervalued and underpaid workforce that provides it--we are eschewing, both, our moral responsibility and a major economic opportunity."
Drs. Katz, Stevenson, and Slaughter are each available for comment.
INQUIRIES: Molly G. Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 317.439.1163
New America is dedicated to renewing the promise of America. Our New Practice Lab is focused on centering families and their lived experiences in policy design and delivery. Their work on care has examined the importance of care to the economy, the implementation of care policies, the shortage of long-term care workers, and care worker wages. New America’s Better Life Lab works in solidarity with the movement for work-family justice to elevate the value of care, advance intersectional gender equity, and transform policy, practice and culture so people and families can thrive.