(WASHINGTON, DC) – House Republicans this week released a plan to repeal the ACA, which Caring Across Generations – a national campaign representing family caregivers, professional caregivers, seniors and people with disabilities – says would prioritize insurance companies over caregiving families. By reducing subsidies, eroding Medicaid (the nation’s largest payer for long-term care), and penalizing people for lapses in their insurance coverage, this plan could be especially harmful to seniors wishing to age at home with dignity, as well as family caregivers who may face extra challenges getting coverage through employers.
Family caregivers know we need to protect what we have and create what we need to make care even better and more affordable. At the end of the day, what we want is simple: to be able to provide and care for our families. That means being able to be there for our loved ones and to get the care we need, when and where we need it.
“It takes a lot of time and energy to keep my mother safe and happy in her home,” said Risa Morimoto, a family caregiver from New York whose mother has Parkinson’s disease. “The ACA was a huge relief for me. But this plan brings back all my worries about whether my husband and I will be able to afford our own health insurance as small business owners. How can we take care of her if we can’t take care of ourselves?”
Our country needs to invest in a care system that values family and professional caregivers and makes it possible for all families to live well and be healthy. By offering a big break to wealthy families and corporations, the House plan doesn’t offer much support towards that, nor does it improve upon provisions of the ACA.
In fact, the ACA made it possible for more than 3 million older adults between the ages of 55 and 64 years old, not covered by employers and not yet eligible for Medicare, gain coverage and access to subsidies through the state marketplaces.
Many family caregivers caring for their aging parents and loved ones fall into this category, especially those forced to cut back on work or leave the workforce altogether due to their caregiving responsibilities, losing health benefits from their employers. On top of that, many must supplement care for their loved ones by paying out-of-pocket for some costs, making buying coverage for themselves even harder on their budgets.
Caregivers also often see their own health decline from the stresses of caregiving: in 2015, the physical and emotional impact of caregiving on Alzheimer’s and other dementia caregivers alone resulted in an estimated $10.2 billion in increased caregiver health costs. Since stress and long hours mean that caregivers are more likely to have health problems, affordable health insurance is essential. The Republican plan would reduce tax credits and hike up premiums not just for family caregivers, but millions of American families and seniors.
“Family caregivers save our health care system an enormous amount of money, but under this proposal they could now be penalized for the invaluable work they do,” said Josephine Kalipeni, Director of Policy and Partnerships for Caring Across Generations. “The priorities of the Republican plan do not meet the needs of millions of caregiving families. We will not support any plan that actively place obstacles in the way of families providing care to their loved ones and accessing care for themselves.”
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About Caring Across Generations
Caring Across Generations is a national movement of families, caregivers, people with disabilities and aging Americans working to transform the way we care in this country. By harnessing the power of online and grassroots organizing and culture change work, we are shifting how our nation values caregiving and calling for policy solutions that enable all of us to live well and age with dignity. For more information, please visit caringacross.org.