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 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.
“New Yorkers who rely on home care workers know how critical they are to their health and independence,” said state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, chairman of the state Senate Health Committee. “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.”