I was glad to see Rep. Yvonne Holley’s Sept. 12 letter “Caring for caregivers.” Fair pay for elder care is long overdue. The federal poverty level is so low that it would be a joke if it weren’t so cruel. In fact, many government assistance programs set their eligibility cutoffs well above that level. Even with public assistance, no one becomes a fat cat.
It’s just one of the stories we and our politicians tell one another to hide the grim real-life story of the working poor. Home care workers, whose work is reimbursed by Medicaid, average $13,000 per year despite working full-time or more. How would I fare on that income? How would anyone?
Increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates would reduce the need for public assistance, which is surely a good thing. What’s more, these workers spend their earnings at local businesses, boosting local economies.
Home care workers, many of whom are people of color, work hard to take care of those who don’t have the capacity to look after themselves. They support disabled and aging persons whose families can’t care for them. They care for our parents and siblings. We get what we pay for: Low pay means inconsistent care for our loved ones and inevitably for us.