WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Some U.S. senators are pushing for more funding for home care services.
They say there’s a shortage of in-home care for the people who need it, like seniors and adults with disabilities.
“The demand for care is skyrocketing, but there’s low pay and lack of benefits. They force home care workers to leave the industry,” said Lynn Weidner, a home care worker in Pennsylvania.
Advocates say family members often have to leave the workforce to care for loved ones, because there isn’t help available.
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., introduced legislation that would give states more Medicaid funding to help them shorten home care waiting lists by creating new home care jobs and raising wages for care workers.
“It will help get people back to work. It gives families something I believe is immeasurable – peace of mind,” Casey said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., supports that legislation and says the issue is only getting more important as the U.S. population grows older.
“Demand for home-based care is only going to increase, so the time for us to act is now,” Warren said.
Some lawmakers, however, think relying on Medicaid for increased funding isn’t the way to reform home care. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., wants to find a different solution.
“The qualifications for Medicaid are significantly a hard threshold to crossover,” Scott said. “A better path forward would invest significant funding in a push for a self-directed care approach.”
Many in the industry are hoping lawmakers can come together to take action.
“An increase in funding for home care would change absolutely everything honestly,” Weidner said.