Gutted Version of Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ Plan Still Includes $ 150 Billion for Home Care

President Joe Biden fought Thursday for a significantly scaled-down version of his Build Back Better plan, a massive economic proposal that aims to expand the country’s social safety net.

“No one got everything they wanted, including me,” the president said in his public remarks. “But that’s the compromise. This is the consensus. And that’s what I ran on.

Biden’s update came as the White House unveiled a drastically revised framework for Build Back Better that omits several initial goals, including paid family time off and tools to reduce drug costs.

The new framework, revised in an effort to gain full Democrat support, also excludes free community colleges and an expansion of the Medicare program.

One thing the $ 1.75 trillion framework does not ignore: funding for home care for the elderly in America.

“The Build Back Better framework will continuously improve Medicaid coverage for home care services for the elderly and people with disabilities, making the most transformative investment in access to home care in 40 years, when these services were first licensed for Medicaid, ”a White House snapshot. Explain.

Specifically, the plan will raise $ 150 billion to help reduce wait lists for home care services and improve compensation for low-wage home care professionals.

A significant portion of Biden’s public remarks focused on the importance of home care, both for the elderly and for people with disabilities. At one point, the president said his home care program was “more popular or as popular than anything we offer.”

“For millions of families in America, this – this problem – is the biggest problem they face. It’s personal, “he said.” So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to expand services to the elderly so families can get help from well-trained, well-paid professionals to help them. to take care of their parents at home – to cook them a meal, to do their shopping for them, to help them get around, to help them live in their own homes with the dignity they deserve.

As a candidate, Biden offered to spend $ 400 billion on Home and Community Services (HCBS) to help make up for years of underinvestment.

Although $ 150 billion is less than half of that total, it is still an important step towards achieving “fundamental change in long-term care policy,” according to The Partnership for Care. home Medicaid (PMHC).

“Home care staff have been underestimated and underestimated since the inception of HCBS services,” the advocacy organization said in a statement shared with Home Health Care News. “The $ 150 billion investment in HCBS will provide the opportunity to increase the wages and standard of living of the direct care workforce and other HCBS workers. “

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The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) also expressed support for the framework on Thursday.

“The home care community expresses its great appreciation for the support of Medicaid HCBS and looks forward to reviewing all the details of the plan,” NAHC President William A. Dombi said in a statement shared with HHCN. “It is gratifying to see this strong recognition of the importance and value of home care.

In addition to $ 150 billion for home care, the revised framework includes $ 150 billion to increase the supply of affordable housing and $ 130 billion to provide tax credits to up to 4 million people not. insured in states that have not expanded Medicaid benefits under affordable care. Act.

The framework also provides $ 1 billion for competitive grants for the direct care workforce, plus $ 20 million for hospice and palliative care programs.

Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO of LeadingAge, described the investments in Build Back Better as “a historic step in meeting the critical needs of older Americans and their families.”

Yet, she suggested, there is still work to be done.

“We can’t give up now,” Sloan said. “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 additional investments in our aging service infrastructure, too many seniors will not have their basic needs met.

It is still extremely uncertain whether Democrats will have enough support to adopt the Build Back Better framework, especially among progressive party members.

To complicate matters further, some lawmakers want to pass the social spending package simultaneously with an infrastructure bill of around $ 1 trillion.

The social spending program was originally intended to be an investment of over $ 3 trillion in climate change mitigation, care, support for families and more.

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