Here is a press release from our partners at Caring Across Generations
WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Tuesday, July 12, over 700 people from across the country joined Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and national human rights leaders to launch the Caring Across Generations campaign: a movement to protect and expand our nation’s support system for the aging and people with disabilities at a time when the need for care in America is skyrocketing.
“Caring for the aging and people with disabilities is one of our most important responsibilities as a nation,” said Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “We’re building a national movement to secure respect and dignity for millions of care recipients, care workers, and families who struggle to find and afford quality care for their loved ones.”
As America’s “age wave” begins this year—with one American turning 65 every eight seconds—Caring Across Generations seeks to transform long-term care in the United States. The campaign aims to protect what we have—Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security—while creating what we need: two million new care jobs, training and protection for workers, new paths to citizenship for immigrant workers, and measures to make care more affordable for working families.
Over the next 12 months, the campaign will hold town hall-style “Care Congresses” in more than 15 U.S. cities.
“Our economy will depend on the creation of millions of home care jobs. You are the economic engine of our country,” White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett told the crowd at Tuesday’s D.C. Care Congress. “It up to us to ensure that these jobs come with the right benefits, what all Americans deserve: good working conditions, clear labor standards, and the ability to form a union.”
Jarrett added: “We must recognize that many of the workers providing care are not U.S. citizens. Our nation must provide a path to citizenship for these workers. … Domestic workers should not be left in the shadows of our economy. They should be celebrated for the services they provide.”
Attendees heard moving testimonies by older adults, people with disabilities, home care and domestic workers, and their children and families about the crisis in care facing millions of Americans.
Community leader Randy Jackson said, “My mom lost her retirement security in the economic crisis, and has since had to sell her apartment. Her healthcare security is also at risk, and she is now working as a home companion for seniors to make ends meet. I’m very concerned about how I will be able to care for her in the years to come.”
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis praised the group for launching Caring Across Generations, saying: “Thanks to your work—workers and families coming together—we’re standing up today for a rightful place in society. That’s what this is about: dignity and respect.”
The day’s activities also included “Medicaid Matters Across Generations,” a 300-person forum on Capitol Hill that was attended by Senators Al Franken, Clare McCaskill, and Sheldon Whitehouse, and was also sponsored by Senators John Kerry, Robert Menendez, Jay Rockefeller, and Barbara Mikulski.
The forum highlighted the devastating effects of the proposed cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. Participants noted that the proposed cuts would not only be devastating to millions who need care, they would also hurt state economies. The loss of business activity due to just a 5 percent cut in federal Medicaid spending would result in a severe job loss in every state across the country, according to FamiliesUSA.
“Too many of our elected leaders are stuck in political gridlock in Washington while our opponents are committed to the wholesale destruction of Medicaid,” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, who moderated the event. “Medicaid shouldn’t be on the chopping block, nor should it be a partisan football—this is our lives and it’s not about a win or a loss in the news cycle. This is about fundamental human needs and workable solutions.”
Caring Across Generations leaders called on Congress to stand with the millions of seniors and working families who depend on Medicaid and Medicare to meet their daily health care needs.
Caring Across Generations is led by a coalition of more than 70 organizations representing women, people with disabilities, seniors, workers, students, and caregivers.
For more information, visit www.caringacrossgenerations.org.
Photo credit: Robert Neff, Flickr