From Katherine Tully-McManus and Andrew Desiderio at Politico:
As Democratic leaders work to shave trillions off of their social spending bill in an effort to win centrist support, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is circulating a letter signed by 100 top economists pushing to keep investments in home care. The letter calls for negotiators to include $250 billion for home caretaking, which is already just over half of the originally proposed $400 billion backed by advocates. Read the letter here.
From the letter:
This historic investment in HCBS will strengthen the economy, both by creating jobs and by allowing people who are currently providing unpaid care to loved ones the support they need to rejoin the labor force. An analysis of the Senate bill found that expanding HCBS eligibility to allow an additional 3.2 million low-income seniors and people with disabilities would create 500,000 new and essential positions to provide home-care and allow 1.1 million unpaid caregivers to return to work.
Even as home care is quickly growing into one of the largest occupations, there are even more family caregivers providing care to the elderly and people with disabilities. There are almost 20 million informal caregivers to people over 65, and they are disproportionately women, most often spouses and daughters. Without support, caregiving can have negative effects on caregivers’ physical and mental health, as well as limiting caregivers’ ability to remain in the workforce, while public investment can actually improve caregiver mental health and boost female labor force participation. Recently, the US has seen female labor force participation stagnate relative to many other developed countries. By alleviating caregiving burdens, one of the key constraints to women’s workforce participation, investing in home care will help the US maintain a competitive workforce.