With nearly 40 million Americans providing care for a loved one, it surprises many people to learn that the United States has no overarching strategy for caregiving. But soon that may change.
In December 2017, a bipartisan team led by Florida’s U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, and Mississippi’s U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper helped push the RAISE Act through the U.S. House. Senate action on the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage Family Caregivers Act is currently pending.
“We want to thank Rep. Kathy Castor for her sponsorship of this important bi-partisan supported legislation,” said Jeff P. Johnson, AARP Florida state director. “This bill recognizes the importance of supporting the nation’s 40 million caregivers and Florida’s nearly 3 million caregivers who dedicate so much financially, emotionally and physically caring for their loved ones.”
H.R. 3759 would require the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a strategy to support family caregivers. The bill would establish an advisory body to bring together representatives from both the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations. The strategy would identify recommended actions that communities, providers, government and others are taking and may take to recognize and support family caregivers.
“Every day at AARP, we are helping Floridians with their caregiving needs which includes helping people stay at home where they want to be and to help prevent more costly nursing home care, reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and save taxpayer dollars,” Johnson said.
In Florida alone, family caregivers provide an estimated $30 million annually in hourly economic value caring for their loved ones. according to a 2013 nationwide study.
Its nearly identical bill, with 107 co-sponsors, S. Bill 1028 passed the House unanimously on Sept. 26, 2017. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions as of Dec. 19, 2017 in the Senate.