The number of adults aged 60 and older in the U.S. is expected to increase 30 percent by 2050. Even now, more seniors and people with disabilities are choosing to stay in their homes rather than going into institutional care.
As a result, home health aides are predicted to be one of the fastest-growing nations in the next decade.
However, there is a shortage of home health aides now and there is concern that the need for them will outstrip the number of people who are willing to go into the field.
One of the big reasons is the low pay home health workers receive and employers say they are already struggling to attract serious candidates. In fact, some fast-food restaurants, like McDonalds, now pay their employees more than some home health care workers get.
Experts say raising wages is an important first step, but it is not the only change that is needed. Home health aides need more training opportunities and support to develop specialized skills, and most do not have career opportunities that would allow them to move up into other related health care or social work positions.
Medicaid pays for many home health care workers and in order to help improve the situation the Biden administration has proposed investing $150 billion towards home health care as part of its Build Back Better Act.
But the legislation, which also contains a provision to lower drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies, is stalled because of disagreements within Biden’s own party.
TSCL supports the legislation precisely because of the two provisions regarding drug prices and health care and we urge you to contact your senators, especially if you live in West Virginia, and urge them to find a way to pass the bill this year.