As the annual appropriations process moves forward, Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina Carbonell testified before a House funding panel on programs and services administered by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA). Under AoA’s proposed 2006 budget, the National Family Caregiver Support Program would receive $155.7 million, the Native American Caregiver Support Program $6.3 million, and the Alzheimer’s Disease Demonstration Grants to States Program $11.8 million. Additional budgetary information is on AoA’s website at www.aoa.gov/about/legbudg/cur rent_budg/budget-request_table.pdf.
Two House panels recently held hearings addressing long-term care (LTC) and family caregiving issues. The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health focused on financing our nation’s long-term care system. Testimony provided an overview of LTC reform proposals, including those that recognize the “benefits, burdens and costs of informal caregiving.”
The U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health also spotlighted long-term care issues, and listened as a witness discussed the essential role of family caregivers. In written testimony, the witness stated that “Intensive family caregiving comes at considerable cost—in employment, health status and quality of life—and may fail to meet care needs.” Testimony from these hearings can be downloaded from the committee websites at www.house.gov.
Recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Medicare Adult Day Care Services Act of 2005 (H.R. 1981) provides coverage of adult day care services under the Medicare program. The “findings” section of the legislation highlights the role of family caregivers in providing care to a loved one, including the economic value of informal care and lost wealth due to time out of the workforce.
Two key pieces of Legislation originally introduced in the 108th session of Congress were reintroduced in the 109th Congress. The Senior Elder Care Relief and Empowerment (SECURE) Act (S. 835) would provide a 50 percent tax credit for caregiving expenses above a $1,000 threshold. The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1902) would allow workers seven paid days of sick leave a year for themselves or to provide care for a parent or loved one. For more information on bills and resolutions visit the U.S. Congress legislative search engine at http://thomas.loc.gov.
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