People across our country are enjoying longer lives. In fact, 10,000 people are turning 65 every day. This is great news for all of us, as we have longer to enjoy the intergenerational relationships that make our families stronger. However, it provides a challenge for our caregiving infrastructure.
These demographic shifts are putting an increased demand on our families, our finances, and on our care system in ways we didn’t anticipate. With some forethought, investment and planning, we can prepare for them. Instead of preparing for the future, though, we’re facing unprecedented attacks on the care we already have. Republicans in Congress are trying to take us back decades right when we need to provide more care, not less.
In recent weeks, people across the country have sent a powerful message. We have united in opposition to the attacks on our care, and we won a huge victory by defeating the Senate’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and dismantle Medicaid as we know it. Yet we know this victory will only be temporary if we cannot change the conversation and demand the things we need.
We should all be able to access the care we want and need, for ourselves and for our families. We all should have the freedom to age and heal in the setting of our choice, with dignity. We should be free from the worry that taking care of our health or our loved ones will bankrupt us. Paid caregivers, who make independence at home possible, should have the freedom to stay in the caregiving field. And all caregivers, whether family caregivers or care workers, who themselves are aging and caring for loved ones, should get the supports they need to make quality care possible and have the freedom to care for their own families. This is even more essential as our nation ages. The ACA and Medicaid are the foundations that make so much of this possible for millions of people, in addition to creating millions of jobs.
While we’ve successfully blocked efforts to repeal the ACA and destroy our care infrastructure as we know it, threats remain. The administration’s budget proposal contains trillions of dollars in cuts that could dismantle our care system entirely. President Trump’s promise to sabotage the ACA would needlessly harm millions of people.
This is why we, the undersigned Caring Majority – the nearly 100 million Americans who need and receive care, the caregivers and providers who support them, and all of us who believe we should be able to choose the care that best supports our families’ dignity and quality of life – demand:
- Expanded access to affordable, quality care with a focus on expanding access to home care;
- Health reforms and robust funding that build upon and strengthen the successes of the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare;
- Comprehensive solutions that address the real needs of family caregivers, many of whom are working and caring for a child while also caring for an adult with care needs;
- Comprehensive solutions to recruit, retain, and support the direct care workforce, providing workers with adequate wages, benefits, and working conditions so that they can stay in the caregiving field;
- Transparency and stakeholder engagement in any processes that impact our care.
The fight for these demands build on older, deeper struggles for freedom challenging the very character of our nation that are coming to a reckoning today. The current political environment has unleashed an open manifestation of oppression rooted in racism, sexism and xenophobia that harms our families and future generations. We unite in fighting in this moment for freedom from police brutality; freedom from gun violence; freedom from violence against women; freedom from systemic and intergenerational poverty; freedom for black lives; freedom for transgender lives; freedom for immigrant lives; freedom for Muslim lives. When FDR spoke about the four freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear – and when MLK roused the nation to fulfill our nation’s unrealized promise to let freedom ring – they spoke to protecting our fundamental rights as human beings.
Together, as the Caring Majority, we will fight to defend what we have and, and work to create what we need. We stand united in our agreement to pursue a system of care that is dignified and one that works for everyone – and a society rooted in caring for one another.
AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
CARING ACROSS GENERATIONS
CENTER FOR POPULAR DEMOCRACY
DIVERSE ELDERS COALITION
FAMILY FORWARD OREGON
HAND IN HAND: THE DOMESTIC EMPLOYERS NETWORK
HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW
JEWS FOR RACIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
JOBS WITH JUSTICE
JUSTICE IN AGING
NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR CAREGIVING
NATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS ALLIANCE
NATIONAL HISPANIC COUNCIL ON AGING
NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT
NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR WOMEN & FAMILIES
PILIPINO WORKERS CENTER OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
9TO5: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WORKING WOMEN
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.