Better Care Better Jobs Act
Long waiting lists for services and staffing shortages are major issues currently affecting the I/DD community and their access to care. Many families are wondering what this means for their loved ones. As institutional settings are phased out and residential settings are increasing in favor by families and individuals with I/DD, the call for long term care and quality services in the community has only grown in demand. *Millions of adults with disabilities currently receive Medicaid home-and community-based services (HCBS).
There are still nearly *one million Americans on the waitlist to receive HCBS. The Better Care Better Jobs Act seeks to address the waitlist and staffing shortage issue. This bill accompanies President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and was first introduced by Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey and Michigan Senator Debbie Dingell on June 24, 2021. The bill aims to improve the lives of adults with I/DD by providing better pay and benefits to direct care workers. The care infrastructure crisis was brought to light again by President Joe Biden during his recent State of the Union address where he urged Congress again to pass his plan.
“People with disabilities deserve the support to live meaningful and dignified lives in their communities. Their care workers deserve the pay and hours to avoid burnout and turnover. And their families deserve the aid of care workers so they do not have to quit or cut their hours to fill in the gaps.” – President Joe Biden
The new Better Care Better Jobs Act seeks a permanent increase in federal Medicaid funding for eligible states. $300 billion would go towards extending and improving access to HCBS. This revamp of the care infrastructure would mean a larger pool for eligibility, increased support for family caregivers, and better wages and benefits for direct care workers.
A healthy and growing care workforce is reassurance that LSA residents and the I/DD population will continue to receive the services they need. The staff and nurses at each LSA home provide the utmost care and attention to each resident’s needs. They are essential to the accessibility of community living and services. As LSA looks to expand housing for the I/DD population in Santa Clara County, it is vital that we are able to staff each home. The passing of this bill would be monumental for I/DD individuals and disability service providers. LSA encourages Congress to pass the Better Care Better Jobs Act to help service providers continue providing quality care to the I/DD population.
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