Top U.S. media outlets continue to respond to President Joe Biden’s recent announcement of the Build Back Better framework, which includes potential benefits for the nation’s “sandwich generation.”
The plan introduces historic traction for the elder care community through extended access to long-term care resources and reduced health care costs for seniors. However, criticisms and concerns have surfaced regarding economic gaps impacting younger age groups and individuals living with disabilities:
“While a bill was introduced in Congress, this idea never got traction. One reason: Biden vowed never to raise taxes on those making $400,000 or less and public insurance would be funded by a small payroll tax hike on all workers.
“But this leaves a major gap in federal support for long-term care. While Biden’s proposals would assist those on Medicaid, it would do nothing for the millions of older adults and younger people with disabilities who are not sufficiently impoverished to become Medicaid eligible, yet do not have the resources to get the care they need.” – Howard Gleckman, Senior Contributor, Forbes
Other sources consider disadvantaged demographics as well as the discrepancies regarding hearing, vision and dental coverage, and related prescription drug costs.
“The framework leaves out several key planks of the economic agenda that Mr. Biden laid out on the campaign trail and shortly after taking office. It does nothing to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors, and it omits what would have been the nation’s first federally guaranteed paid family and medical leave for workers. It does not include free community college for all, as Mr. Biden had promised. It would expand Medicare coverage to include hearing, but not vision or dental services.” – Jim Tankersley and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, White House Correspondents, New York Times
“Women typically handle most family care, whether that’s for children, elders, or ill or disabled relatives. Those burdens got much worse during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many women — women of color especially — often had to choose between working and caring for others, a decision that often had devastating economic consequences. Some economists argue that the United States’ lack of care infrastructure puts it at a competitive disadvantage for economic stability and growth.” – Jennifer Merolla, Rachel VanSickle-Ward, Ivy A.M. Cargile, Jill S. Greenlee and Sarah Hayes, The Washington Post
“Women in the USA continue to see their rights sidelined: unequal pay; a majority of unpaid elderly, child care and domestic duties; gender-based violence; and unequal access to basic human rights like the right to decide whether to carry to term a pregnancy or not.” – Carli Pierson, Opinion Writer, USA Today
“Research shows that families forgo $28.9 billion each year in wages because of caregiving responsibilities that pull them out of the labor market. This could also help solve the labor shortages that we’re facing, in addition to increasing wages. Our nation is facing a skyrocketing need for care as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement. Almost 820,000 Americans are on Medicaid HCBS waitlists – waiting an average of over three years.
“But the people who provide home health – the majority are women of color – don’t make the kind of money they deserve. The median wage for direct care workers in Utah, who take care of our aging loved ones and people with disabilities, is only $12 an hour. Although I don’t know that I can put a price on the care I receive, I know they deserve to earn at least a living wage. The Build Back Better Act would also invest money to ensure that caregivers make enough money to live and ensures that we can build the caregiving workforce to the numbers needed as more people need their services.” – Fred Adams, Contributor, The Salt Lake Tribune