Posted by Jessica Brill Ortiz on January 7th, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Comments Off on How the New Budget Deal Affects Direct Care Workers
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was passed by Congress on January 1, 2013, and signed into law by President Obama on January 2. The legislation, often referred to as the deal to prevent the United States from going over a “fiscal cliff,” includes several provisions that will have a significant impact on direct care workers.
The new law extends tax cuts for more than 100 million families who earn less than $250,000 a year. This presumably includes virtually all direct care workers, since the median annual wage for a direct care worker is $17,000. The cuts had been set to end this month.
It also ends a temporary Social Security tax cut that has been in effect for the past two years. Incomes will decrease as this payroll tax rises, creating additional financial hardship for low-wage workers. However, the additional taxes are a contribution to workers’ retirement fund and will strengthen the Social Security program for future retirees. Continue reading »
Direct Care Alliance Board Chair Tracy Dudzinski was at the White House last Friday for a briefing on cooperatives.
Tracy Dudzinski at the White House
DCA: Who was there and what did you talk about?
TRACY: The National Cooperative Business Association invited leaders from 150 cooperatives across the nation to talk to the White House staff about what co-ops can do for the economy.
My agency, Cooperative Care, is a worker-owned home care cooperative, and I’m the chair of their board too. Cooperative Care was one of the featured success stories in the packet of information that NCBA made up for the White House staff. There were only eight or ten of them, so that was pretty good.
Did you get a chance to speak?
One of our allies from here in Wisconsin got the floor and talked about home care co-ops. Then she nodded at me and said I was from Cooperative Care and we were a success story, so I was able to speak a little about how we’re doing so well that we have hired 15 new people in the last year. Continue reading »
Posted by Judith Solomon on April 23rd, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Comments Off on House Budget Raises Red Flags for Direct Care Workers
Here in Washington, Congress is planning how the government will spend its money next year and for many years to come. The plan that the House of Representatives just passed includes many cuts that would be extremely troubling for direct care workers.
Adopted on March 29, the House’s Ryan budget (named after Congressman Paul Ryan, Chair of the House Budget Committee) would slash federal funding for Medicaid. By 2022, it would reduce federal Medicaid funding by one third, and the cuts would get even bigger in the following years.
The Ryan budget would make these massive cuts by fundamentally changing the way Medicaid works. Medicaid is a federal-state partnership. The federal government kicks in about 57 percent of the program’s costs, on average. States pick up the rest. When more people need coverage under Medicaid, the federal government automatically kicks in its share of the cost of covering them.
Under the Ryan plan, each state would instead get a set pot of money, a so-called block grant, for Medicaid. That amount wouldn’t increase in response to a recession, or a new disease, or even a medical breakthrough that could help people with a devastating disease like Alzheimer’s or cancer. Continue reading »
Recent cuts in the Medicare and Medicaid rates paid to skilled nursing facilities have caused nursing homes to hire fewer direct care and other workers and reduce wages and benefits, according to a survey commissioned by The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (AQHNC).
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reduced Medicare payments to nursing homes by 11.1 percent last August. This February, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which made further cuts to Medicare payments. Meanwhile, many states have reduced or frozen Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes. AQNHC’s Spring 2012 Care Context report explores the impact of these reductions. Continue reading »
Rania Antonopoulos is a senior scholar and director of the Gender Equality and the Economy program at the Levy Institute. She wrote this post with the assistance of her colleague Michael Stephens, senior editor at the Levy Economics Institute.
President Obama’s recently proposed American Jobs Act would put people to work building and repairing the nation’s roads, bridges, and schools. This is all laudable, if fairly inadequate ($50 billion for transportation infrastructure and half that for school infrastructure) given both the extent of our dilapidated infrastructure and the size of the employment hole. But a job creation idea you won’t find in the AJA would produce double the employment boost of those physical infrastructure projects. If we invest in putting people to work delivering social care services—shoring up our crumbling social infrastructure by adding jobs in professions like direct care—we can begin to crawl our way back to full employment, while providing vitally needed services and doing more to help those who are least able to weather the current non-recovery recovery. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on July 12th, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Comments Off on Care, Commitment and Coffee with Muhanna S. Kakish of Minnesota
At the 2011 Voices Institute Leadership Training, DCA communications director, Josh Sabato sat down to speak with direct care worker, Muhanna S. Kakish to discuss the most pressing issues facing direct care workers and how other activists can get involved in direct care advocacy in Minnesota. DCA Speaks with Muhanna S. Kakish at 2011 Voices Institute Training.
Posted by Leonila Vega on March 29th, 2011 at 9:11 am | Comments Off on Dame Elizabeth Taylor: Fierce Health Care Activist
Elizabeth Taylor is remembered for amazing feats of womanhood, leadership and beauty. Her $1 million salary for the 1963 movie Cleopatra, made her a pioneer for future actresses such as Angelina Jolie, Renee Zellweger and Julia Roberts who today, command ten to fifteen times that amount. Elizabeth Taylor’s extraordinary talents transcended the big screen by sharing with the public her prodigious sex appeal, and daring to scandalize moral expectations for women in her time by choosing whom to marry and when. Elizabeth developed a women’s perfume empire, that at the time of her death, had made over 200 million dollars in profit.
More impressive than these achievements, was Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s enduring contribution as a fierce health care advocate. At a time when friends close to her were dying and America was either ignorant, ashamed or prejudiced toward individuals suffering from HIV or AIDS, she lifted the veil and brought the entire country together to pay attention while she demonstrated compassion, enlightenment, and generosity to those affected by HIV. Taylor testified, gave speeches and set up a research foundation. Ms. Taylor’s compassion and love drove her to channel her prodigious energies into educating the country on issues related to HIV. She will always be remembered for that, and thankfully her contribution lives on through her charitable work and foundation (AMFAR).
Posted by Leonila Vega on February 1st, 2011 at 9:56 am | Comments Off on President Obama Addresses Key DCA Issues in State of the Union
In his State of the Union address last Tuesday, President Obama touched on two key issues for the Direct Care Alliance: rebuilding the economy and improving care. I commend him for his leadership and efforts on both these fronts and we are working with our grassroots network, allies and policymakers to demonstrate the key role that direct care workers can play in achieving these goals in 2011 and beyond.
Despite declaring job creation as his top priority for 2010, there is still much work to be done. Unemployment rates are still well over 9% and there is no question the slow economic recovery has taken a toll on most communities. There’s a lot that the Administration can do to help create jobs but very little would do more to strengthen our communities than investments in direct care jobs. Currently, more than 13 million Americans depend on the care and support of direct care workers every day. Direct care jobs:
Are in high demand, and projected to be one of the fastest growing jobs over the next decade.
Support the autonomy, dignity and well-being of individuals with long-term care needs.
Eliminate a loss in economic productivity by people who miss work due to the lack of availability of long-term supports and services.
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on September 16th, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Comments Off on Prescription For Growth: Health Care & Job Creation
9/16/10 – The National Journal hosted a policy summit at the Newseum in Washington, DC, to discuss the impact of the Affordable Care Act (health care reform) on job growth in the health care industry. Nancy-Ann Deparle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, spoke to the group about why health reform was necessary and described the great need for job creation in the industry. As one of the fastest growing occupations in the country, direct care is a vital part of the national discussion on health reform and the creation of jobs in the health industry. Watch video coverage of the summit, below.
Panelists Ellen-Marie Whelan (Center for American Progress) and Dr. Richard “Chip” Davis (Johns Hopkins Medicine) both spoke to the growing consumer demand for in-home health care. Continue reading »
Posted by Judy Clinco on June 10th, 2010 at 9:27 am | Comments Off on Arizona Direct Care Workers Prepare to Meet Baby Boomer Demand
A recent article in the Arizona Republic calls attention to the rising demand for direct care services in Arizona. With an additional 1.1 million direct care workers needed across the U.S. in the next ten years, it is more important than ever that our workforce is equipped to meet the challenge. From the article:
Despite all our political differences, there is a universally shared human hope. No matter your race, ethnic background, religion, gender or sexual orientation, everybody wants a sense of self-determination in old age. But as 77 million Baby Boomers move into their golden years, there is a shortage of direct-care workers who can help them retain a sense of independence.
That’s one big problem. For [Direct Care Alliance board member] Judy Clinco, solving it also involves addressing the parallel human need to fill one’s younger years with meaningful work. Let’s start with the challenges of old age. The ability of Boomers to continue to do their own thing will depend largely on the availability of direct-care workers. These workers provide 80 percent of paid, hands-on services for the elderly in their own homes, in assisted-living settings, nursing homes, hospices and hospitals. These workers are in short supply – and that’s nothing new. 10 years ago, [Ms. Clinco] created the CareGiver Training Institute to build a workforce. This month, the non-profit will graduate its 1,000th student.
In his State of the Union Address last Tuesday, President Obama reiterated that his Administration’s #1 priority is to create more jobs and get our economy back on track. He also challenged Congress: “Don’t walk away from health care reform.”
The DCA applauds the President’s call to action. With more than a quarter of all direct care workers lacking health insurance, making quality health care affordable for all Americans remains our top priority. We’re also working to get direct care on the job creation agenda, so some of that funding will go to improve the quality of direct care jobs, ensuring that we can satisfy consumer demand for a stable, well-qualified workforce.
Direct care jobs are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations in the USA over the next decade. That means our nation is facing a crucial choice. We can continue to tolerate low-paying, poor-quality jobs that swell the ranks of the working poor and lead to poor care. Or we can invest in the direct care workforce. Continue reading »
Michael describes direct care as “recession-proof” work that can last a lifetime and allow you to “really make a difference in the life of another person.” She also notes that it is one of the fastest-growing job categories in the nation, “playing a vital role in job creation and economic growth.”