President Joe Biden is expected to include $400 billion for expanding Medicaid beneficiaries' access to home- and community-based care for seniors and the disabled as part of a larger infrastructure package.
The president is expected to outline the package, which will need congressional approval, in a speech Wednesday. A fact sheet on the package outlines the proposed investment of $400 billion.
“These investments will help hundreds of thousands of Americans finally obtain the long-term services and support they need, while creating new jobs and offering caregiving workers a long-overdue raise, stronger benefits and an opportunity to organize or join a union and collectively bargain,” according to the fact sheet on the plan.
The White House noted caregivers have been traditionally underpaid, highlighting that wages for home care workers are about $12 an hour.
“Research shows that increasing the pay of direct care workers greatly enhances workers’ financial security, improves productivity and increases the quality of care offered,” the White House said.
The plan would also “expand access to home and community-based services.”
It would also extend the use of the Money Follows the Person program, a Medicaid demonstration that gives more federal money to states that move beneficiaries from nursing homes to more community- and home-based services.
Biden wants to expand the demonstration program to support “innovations in the delivery of long-term care.”
The legislation would give home- and community-based jobs the ability to collectively bargain to form a union. Some home care workers are part of the Service Employees International Union.
Biden is also proposing several tax changes to fund the infrastructure package. For instance, the plan would increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
It remains unclear whether the legislation will make it through Congress. While it could pass the House, the legislation could have a major obstacle in the 50-50 Senate.