Key Takeaways

  • Undervalued home care workers deserve a living wage, and family caregivers, many who are overburdened and are struggling to keep their jobs, need additional support. 

  • Right now, the Senate is negotiating an agreement that could include a key investment aging advocates have sought for years: Historic investments to help older Americans remain healthy and independent at home.

  • Find out how you can help get this historic investment in home care across the finish line this year. 

After months of stalemate, the Senate is working to reach a compromise agreement with Senator Manchin (D-WV) before July 4 on a package of major reforms that will likely include reducing prescription drug costs, climate change improvements, and deficit reduction.  

NCOA and hundreds of state and national organizations representing older adults and people with disabilities, and Americans of all ages and political parties, support a proposal to improve access to Medicaid home care services and provide better wages and benefits for home care workers, along with relief to family caregivers. 

Every state applied for enhanced home care funding that was provided by the American Rescue Plan last year. However, those rescue funds are temporary and have stopped accruing. Without a permanent investment in home care, access to services that older adults need to stay out of institutions will decrease, while workforce shortages and caregiver burdens will increase.

The problem we want the Senate to solve is dire—and the solutions are overwhelmingly popular.

Three reasons you should support this historic investment in home care

1. Families deserve choice

  • Up to 1.5 million people are on waiting lists to receive home care, mostly because nursing home coverage is mandatory but home care is optional under Medicaid.
  • Home care is safer, less expensive, and helps keep families together.
  • Far too many seniors died in nursing homes due to COVID, emphasizing the need to improve access to care at home.

2. Investing in home care makes good sense

  • Investing in home care will lower costs for families struggling with inflation and will strengthen the economy by letting family caregivers return to work.
  • On average, home care costs about $26,000 a year, while nursinghome care costs roughly $90,000 or more.
  • Three (3) separate opinion polls all showed that almost 90% of Americans of all ages support investing in home care, including over 80% of Republicans.

3. Home care workers deserve more

  • Home care workers have been underpaid and undervalued for far too long, creating serious turnover and access problems.
  • With average salaries of about $12 per hour, almost half have incomes below 200% of poverty.
  • Eighty-eight percent (88%) of home care workers are women, 28% are Black, 22% are Hispanic/Latino, and 33% are age 55+.

How you can encourage your Senators to act in support of home care

Members of both parties have an interest in making progress on these issues.

Multiple surveys have shown that over 80% of Americans of all ages and across party lines support investing in home care. We need advocates like you to get loud NOW to make sure the Senate makes the needed investments.

What you can ask your Senators to do when contacting them:

  • Reduce waiting lists for care at home, which is a fiscally responsible alternative to institutionalization
  • Permit family caregivers to return to work, which will strengthen our economy
  • Provide home care workers with long-overdue pay increases and better benefits so older adults have a qualified workforce to help them age at home
  • Extend home care investments passed last year that are expiring

Increased funding for home care passed by Congress last year is expiring. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill to extend funding and provide a major, permanent investment in home care.  But the path forward to enact the proposal into law this year will be difficult unless Senators hear from their constituents about the urgent need for this reform.

Don't wait to look back on this moment and see a missed opportunity.  You can visit our action center to learn more, find talking points, and use our forms to contact your Senators. To help educate friends, family, and loved ones, download our infographic below and encourage them to support home care by urging them to contact their Senators. Older adults, people with disabilities, family caregivers, and home care workers need us.