Wednesday, May 10, 2017

RAISE Family Caregivers Act Re-Introduced in Senate and HELP Committee Consideration

Dana Halvorson

Sen. Tammy Baldwin & Sen. Susan Collins (L to R)
Last week, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) re-introduced the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1028) in the U.S. Senate. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are original co-sponsors. This legislation, which AHCA/NCAL supports, would implement the federal Commission on Long-Term Care’s bipartisan recommendation that Congress require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers.

The bill would create an advisory body to bring together representatives from the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations. The strategy would identify specific actions that communities, providers, employers, government, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers and be updated. Last Congress, the full U.S. Senate considered and passed this legislation. It did not come up for full U.S. House of Representatives’ consideration though before the end of last Congress. The bill is anticipated to be considered by the Senate HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) in the near future.

According to AARP, about 40 million family caregivers provide about $470 billion annually in unpaid care to their loved ones. According to the Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 study from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, about 3.7 million family caregivers provide care to a child under age 18 because of a medical, behavioral, or other condition or disability, and 6.5 million family caregivers assist both adults and children.

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