RAISE Family Caregivers Act

A senior man walks on a trail with his adult son, who is his caregiver.
The value of unpaid family care is huge. Although policy change is underway, more robust action is needed to support caregiving families.
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AARP led a group of 75 organizations yesterday, calling on Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar to implement the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act. In a RAISE Family Caregivers Act HHS Implementation Group Letter June 2018 Final , the organizations write, “Millions of individuals count on family caregivers every day. Family caregivers are counting on implementation of this commonsense law.” The RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which passed Congress with overwhelming support and was signed into law by President Trump on January 22, requires the Secretary of HHS to develop a strategy to support family caregivers within 18 months of the law’s enactment – the clock started ticking five months ago. According to the new law, the Secretary must:
We certainly are living in very divisive times. On the big issues of the day, party and ideological lines are drawn with little, if any, common ground. And, the collegiality of Congresses past – the “disagree without being disagreeable” comity – seems like something for the history books. But is that really the whole story?
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In workplaces and at kitchen tables across the country, Americans are grappling with a growing issue that touches so many of us: the enormous struggles we face when caring for relatives and friends who need ongoing help because of a chronic illness, disability, or a serious health condition.
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, let’s also remember that November is National Family Caregivers Month – a time to recognize and express our appreciation for America’s 40 million family caregivers. They are truly the backbone our care system, helping aging parents, spouses, and other relatives and friends manage chronic conditions and disabilities.
RAISE Act
This week, the U.S. Senate began its consideration of the RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage) Family Caregivers Act — an important piece of legislation that would start a national conversation about ways to aid Americans’ greatest support system — family caregivers. Thanks to the leadership and support of Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the bill was quickly approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee (which goes by the very appropriate acronym . . . HELP).
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Forty million Americans care for their older parents, spouses and other loved ones to help them live independently, at home, each and every day — I am one of them. We family caregivers help with bathing and dressing, transportation, providing meals, and much more. We even handle complex medical tasks like wound care or giving injections. Today, we are an essential part of the U.S. health care system.
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