Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has released a $450 million plan to boost home- and community-based health care services, including funds to address social determinants of health.
The proposal is part of a larger $775 million package that includes additional provisions related to health care, child care and education to be implemented over a 10-year period.
Biden’s plan also seeks to increase the workforce providing care in the home by 1.5 million people. Hospices have been plagued by staffing shortages in recent years, which are expected to worsen due to staff retirement and the effects of burnout among clinicians.
“Biden will allocate $450 billion to give more people the choice to receive care at home or in supportive community situations, or to have that choice for their loved ones. He will help states offer cost-effective options for affordable primary and preventive care, and affordable support services like help with meals, transportation, home safety, and quality day programs for older Americans,” Biden wrote in a blog. “This commitment will reduce health expenditures, help more Americans avoid unnecessary and expensive hospitalizations, and result in an expansion of the caregiving and community health workforce by roughly 1.5 million jobs.”
The proposal includes programs not only to support the work of professional clinicians and aides but includes provisions offering support to family members caring for ill loved ones in their homes. Among the measures discussed in the plan are a $5,000 tax credit for “informal caregivers,” Social Security credits for caregiver families and support for those who care for active duty service members and veterans suffering from injuries or illness.
Biden’s plan, if enacted, would allocate funds for programs to address social determinants of health for seniors and the disabled, including meals, transportation, home modifications and day programs, with a mind to reducing health care costs, supporting aging in place and reducing avoidable hospitalizations.
Among the provisions would be an effort to reduce the waiting list for home- and community-based services through Medicaid. About 800,000 people are currently on such waiting lists, according to Biden.
“Following the elimination of the current waiting list, states will be given a choice to convert their current home and community based care services waivers into a new state plan option with an enhanced federal match,” Biden indicated. “This will enable states to make home- and community-based services more available to people in need.”
The campaign has proposed financing these programs by rolling back tax breaks for real estate investors who have an income exceeding $400,000 and actions to improve tax compliance for high-income earners.
“We must move aggressively to eliminate the institutional bias that pervades our public programs. A Biden Administration will dedicate substantial resources to this fund to help states and locally based entities test innovative models that expand home- and community-based alternatives to institutional care,” Biden indicated.