Last month, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers. Standing alongside childcare and family care advocates and providers, he called the executive order “the most comprehensive set of actions any administration has taken to increase access to high-quality childcare and long-term care and support for the caregivers.”
CNN’s recent article entitled, “Biden signs executive order aimed at expanding access to long-term care and child care,” reports that the president said the order “doesn’t require any new spending” and that it will ensure “taxpayers will get the best value for the investments they’ve already made.”
“In the pandemic, we made it even clearer just how hard it is for millions of working- and middle-class families to provide care for their families,” Biden said. “It’s not just how important the care economy is to the entire economy, it’s when people have to leave the labor force or can’t enter it in the first place because of caregiving responsibility, they can’t fully participate in the economy, and that drags down the whole nation’s productivity and growth overall.”
The order will expand and guarantee access to affordable childcare for families, including military families. In addition, the White House is directing federal agencies to “identify which grant programs can support childcare and long-term care for individuals working on federal projects and consider requiring applicants seeking federal job-creating funds to expand access to care and caregiving support for their workers.”
Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice called the move “historic” during a call with reporters previewing the executive order. However, additional funding for such efforts would face an unlikely road in Congress.
“Childcare and long-term care systems in this country just don’t work well – high-quality care is costly to deliver, it’s labor intensive, it requires skilled workers,” Rice said. “Yet professional caregivers – who are disproportionately women and women of color and immigrants – are among the lowest paid in the country, despite working in some of the most important and complex and demanding jobs. At the same time, the price of care represents an outside share of family’s budget, with childcare prices up 26% in just the last decade and long-term care costs up nearly 40%.”
Additional steps outlined in the executive order would seek to issue regulations to ensure Medicaid funding for long-term and home care workers caring for Medicaid enrollees and testing a new dementia care model that would include support for respite care under Medicare.
The Department of Labor will also publish a sample employment agreement “so domestic childcare and long-term care workers and their employers can ensure both parties better understand their rights and responsibilities.”
Reference: CNN (April 18, 2023) “Biden signs executive order aimed at expanding access to long-term care and child care”