C-TAC News

The Blog to Transform Advanced Care

Advancing Care through Innovation, Observation and Collaboration.

Congress Makes Strides Toward Sustained Support for Family Caregivers

Improving the health system for people living with serious illness requires a range of supports, services, and resources for care that promote patient agency over their healthcare experience.  For example, supporting the roles of family caregivers can act as a means of operationalizing ideas of person-centered care to encourage care delivery that reflects the patient’s preferences and values, and prevents unnecessary, and often unwanted, utilization of inpatient services.

Last week, the House Ways and Means committee made the first major step toward paying for leave that family caregivers take when caring and supporting those with serious illness. The Committee advanced provisions as part of the budget reconciliation bill to provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for all workers. The prospect of this new provision underscores the importance of supporting caregivers and the role they play in care for people with serious illness, as reaffirmed by our 2021 Policy Agenda.

Supporting the nation’s workers is a major component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s sweeping $3.5 trillion spending package. As one component of this package, the creation of a paid family leave entitlement program for all workers carries major implications for the future of family caregiving. The codification of this program would extend the benefit to those who provide at least four hours of care per month to someone who is related to them, by blood or affinity that is equivalent to a family relationship, as defined in regulations of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. This would remove barriers for countless individuals who are facing the challenge of caring for a loved one while working to meet the essential needs of their family.

Congress continues to consider legislative proposals under the reconciliation process that align with the President’s social policy agenda. Amidst these proposals are key components that pertain to care for people living with serious illness, such as elder justice provisions, nursing home improvements, staff training, supports and services under the Older Americans Act, transportation services, and more. Of particular note is an additional $150 million for the National Family Caregiver Support Program under Title III-E of the OAA. Our team of policy experts is engaging and closely monitoring the movement of these components as they make their way through committees in the House and Senate and there will be more information to share in the weeks ahead.

While the advancement of the family leave portion of the spending bill is a promising step for solidifying systematic support for caregivers, much of the process, such as tasking the Department of Treasury to oversee the program, is still being debated.

For more information on the Ways and Means committee spending bill, read the recent press release on it here. To find out how C-TAC is laying the groundwork for this sort of transformative policy action, check out our 2021 Policy Agenda here!

Leave a Comment