On July 16, AARP announced its support for the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act that would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Kathy Castor (D-FL). The Senate bill, S. 1719, was introduced by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
“AARP appreciates the bipartisan leadership demonstrated by Senators Collins and Baldwin, and Representatives Harper and Castor,” said AARP Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy A. LeaMond. “Caregiving is an issue that will affect almost everyone. Our country should recognize and support the contributions that roughly 40 million family caregivers make every day, and we urge Congress to act on this bill this year.”
The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would specifically require the development, maintenance, and updating of an integrated national strategy to recognize and support family caregivers. This bill would create an advisory council that brings together relevant federal agencies and representatives from the private and public sectors, including family caregivers, older adults, people with disabilities, healthcare providers, employers, state and local officials, and others to advise and make recommendations regarding the national strategy. The advisory council meetings would be open to the public with opportunities for input. The strategy would identify specific actions that government, communities, healthcare and other providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers.
The need for the RAISE Family Caregivers Act was reinforced with the release of AARP Public Policy Institute’s new report, Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update, that finds family caregivers in the U.S. provided 37 billion hours of care-worth an estimated $470 billion-to their parents, spouses, and other adult loved ones in 2013. The total estimated economic value of this uncompensated care provided by the nation’s family caregivers surpassed total Medicaid spending ($449 billion) in 2013.
This article was adapted from information provided by AARP.