Cory 2020
For Immediate Release:

July 15, 2019

Cory Booker Unveils Plan to Expand Access to High-Quality, Affordable Long-Term Care

Booker in Iowa today to address AARP forum in Des Moines

Tens of millions of Americans would benefit, from those needing long-term care, to care workers, to unpaid family caregivers

Newark, NJ — Today, ahead of his address at the AARP forum in Des Moines, Cory Booker is outlining his plan to immediately expand access to high-quality, affordable care for people in need of long-term services and support. His plan also includes a dramatic investment in the millions of professionals who provide this critical care, raising wages, meaningful benefits, and a voice in their working conditions. 

As the number of Americans needing long-term care rises and the shortage of care providers increases, more families are unable to access the care they need. Cory’s plan addresses three broken parts of the system by:
  • Expanding personal asset and income eligibility for long-term services and supports to every low- and middle-income American.
  • Giving all Americans the choice to live and age at home.
  • Paying, training, and empowering care workers as the essential workforce that they are.
  • Supporting family caregivers with a new tax credit, expanded benefits, and critical training.
This plan would provide sweeping benefits to tens of millions of Americans — providing access to high-quality long-term care, dramatically lifting wages for direct care workers, and paying family caregivers for the vital work they do.

“Health care is a human right, and long-term services and supports are an important part of that,” said Cory Booker. “In one of the richest nations in the world, no person should ever go broke or have to quit their job to afford long-term care or to take care of a loved one. As we move toward the ultimate goal of Medicare for All, I will fight for a transformative plan that will bring long-term services and supports within reach for every American. Lives and livelihoods depend on us taking on this big problem, and we have a moral responsibility to act.

"We owe a debt of gratitude to the remarkable men and women who make up the direct care workforce, including family caregivers. If we're serious about transforming our health care system, we need to empower and compensate the professionals doing this critical work."

For most Americans with long-term services and supports needs, the options are dire: either spend down their life savings so that they can meet low-income and asset requirements for Medicaid eligibility, or ask a friend or family member to provide care, often requiring that friend or family member to cut back at work or quit their jobs entirely. Too many Americans face job loss or financial ruin in order to pay for the long-term care of themselves or a loved one. 

At the same time, the direct care workforce — providing vitally important and difficult work — is underpaid and underappreciated; direct-care workers earn a median annual salary of just $19,100 and 50 percent of home care workers rely on federal assistance. Approximately 87% of direct care workers are women and 56% are people of color.

Cory Booker is in Iowa today, speaking at the AARP/Des Moines Register Forum at Drake University in Des Moines.

More details on Cory’s plan:

Expand eligibility for long-term services and supports to every low and middle-income American

Cory would increase asset limits for long-term services and supports to $200,000 and income limits to 300% of the federal poverty line (approximately $49,380 for a family of two) — ensuring that all low- and middle-income seniors and people with disabilities have access to services through Medicaid. In addition, individuals that exceed the asset and/or income limits would be able to buy in to the program, with cost-sharing determined on a sliding scale.

Give everyone the choice to live at home

Cory would move to rebalance long-term services and supports options by requiring that states offer home- and community-based services to end the waiting lists so that everyone has the freedom to get the care they need in the setting of their choice, including continuing to live at home. Cory will also fight for the Disability Integration Act, to ensure that all people with disabilities have the right to live and access long-term services and supports in their homes. 

Pay, train, and empower care workers as the essential workforce that they are

Cory’s plan recognizes that the women and men of the long-term services and supports workforce perform essential work every day, and that their compensation should reflect this. That means, at a minimum, being paid at least $15 per hour, having access to affordable health care, retirement benefits, paid family and medical leave, and other workplace benefits that provide economic security.
  • Increase Medicaid funding for direct care workers in publicly-funded programs.
  • Direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make improvements to workforce planning to guarantee that fair wages, workforce training opportunities, and benefits like health care, retirement savings, and sick time are part of all long-term services and supports programs.
  • Require that the direct care workforce have access to a voice at work by directing HHS to support workers who want to join a union or other worker organizations, including by rolling back the Trump Administration’s rule against voluntary payroll deductions, and ensuring that there is a mechanism, like a workforce standards board, for workers to provide input on the long-term services and supports system, including wage rates, standards and training programs.
Support family caregivers

A 2016 AARP report found that family caregivers spend an average of $7,000 annually on out-of-pocket costs associated with caregiving. This amounts to 17 percent of the average man caregiver’s annual income and 21 percent of the average woman caregiver’s income. For Black caregivers, out-of-pocket costs are 34 percent. 

Through his Rise Credit, an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, Cory’s plan would pay family caregivers for the critical work they do by providing up to a $4,000 maximum credit to caregivers of children and relatives under age six, children with disabilities, or elderly spouses or other dependents.

Cory would improve access to paid family leave, as well as to training, respite, and case management benefits, including by fully funding the Older Americans Act and passing his In-Home CARE Act

Read the full details of Cory’s plan to expand access to high-quality, affordable long-term services and supports here.
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