With the fate of the Better Jobs Better Care Act expected to be decided as a part of the imminent budget reconciliation process, 93 New York State Legislators are appealing to their federal colleagues to ensure that at least $190 billion in funding for home care stays on the table.
The Better Care Better Jobs bill (HR 4131/S 2210) was introduced as New York and many other states face a critical juncture in providing home care to their aging populations. Nearly one in six New Yorkers are aged 65 and older, and the older adult population is growing faster than any other age group in the state. At the same time, New York must contend with a growing shortage in home care support and services.
In the eyes of the letter’s signatories, one solution to the looming crisis is to attract more home care workers by offering better wages and improved job quality. To do so, federal dollars are badly needed.
“Home care workers do essential, skilled, and compassionate work that provides a level of independence to elderly and disabled New Yorkers. While we fight to change the State level policies such as the unconscionable 13-hour rule that allows employers to pay home health aides only 13 hours out of a 24-hour shift, we must also be calling on the federal government to play its role in dedicating funding for these workers, who are overwhelmingly women of color and immigrant New Yorkers. I’m proud to be joined by dozens of my colleagues in advocating on behalf of these essential workers,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein.
"New Yorkers who rely on home care workers know how critical they are to their health and independence. The workforce needs dignified wages to attract and retain home care professionals as the population in need grows. The nurses and aides providing care, mostly women of color and immigrants, continue to be paid poverty wages despite dedicating themselves to caring for others’ loved ones before returning home to care for their own. We need the federal government to do its part and adequately fund the home care workforce in the final Build Back Better package," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the New York State Senate Health Committee.
"1199SEIU home care members have demonstrated their dedication to their consumers and clients throughout this terrible pandemic, while they continue their fight to be respected, protected, and paid. These members are doing everything they can to make sure that the Federal government makes a real investment in home care services through the Build Back Better Act. It is critical that seniors and people with disabilities receive the services they need to live independently in their own homes. It is also imperative that the workers providing care have the tools they need to live with dignity. We are grateful that almost 100 members of the State Legislature are standing with us in urging Congress to fund home care," said Helen Schaub, New York State Policy and Legislative Director of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.