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Improving Home Care Services, Creating Jobs

Programs like Medicare and Medicaid were created to benefit frail elders and people with disabilities. Unfortunately, spending has been cut on these programs. Government funding cuts have lead to the opening of many new homecare agencies. However, Federal funding is key to improve upon the services provided by homecare agencies and create additional homecare jobs to meet the needs of aging Americans.

The Benefits of Government Homecare Investments

Two particular proposals have been presented; each with a different design.

At the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, four economists, Ajit Zacharias, Kijong Kim, Rania Antonopoulos and Thomas Masterson have a policy brief that they have published. The brief is entitled “Why President Obama Should Care About ‘Care’: An Effective and Equitable Investment Strategy for Job Creation.”

To access an outcome they use micro simulation and input-output analysis on investing $50 billion in plans enabling jobs to finance homecare services for people with disabilities and the elderly. This money also promotes employment in early education and childcare.

The Results are Compelling:

Such an investment indeed would bring more jobs than any other option per dollar. Thus allowing home care management to be beneficial to families with low income, or hit hard with unemployment. The group at Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, have another yet un-detailed package that would create stimulus and prompt more money to pre-existing programs.

A Different Take: Voucher Based Plans

At the New American Foundation, Lauren Damme and Michael Lind, offer a slimmer proposal that is largely market –based to support homecare services for the aged, via a system that is voucher based. Local, as well as State governments, would then be able to identify people that are retired and in need of assistance via home care management. Meal preparation, medication managing, housekeeping and transportation could all be maintained.

The identfied group of people would then be eligible to receive vouchers to hire help from personal homecare services that are certified for a low cost hourly service. With federal aid to up the hourly wage, employees would be ensured an earning above the standard minimum wage.

Voucher-based plans for home care management have proven successful in France, Belgium, Sweden and Finland and help bear the costs.

Improving the Job Market & Service to the Elderly

A serious effort is needed to ramp up the availability of homecare services. Ideally, by combining the options in the New American Foundation’s proposal with the macroeconomic avenue, Americans could see a much healthier care policy for those in need of home care.

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