Society Applauds Senate HELP Committee Passage of Caregiver Bill
May 11, 2017
The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1028) by unanimous voice vote. This bipartisan legislation led by Senators Collins of Maine and Baldwin of Wisconsin would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop, maintain and update an integrated national strategy to recognize and better support our nation’s family caregivers.
Forty-three million family caregivers provide a vast majority of our nation’s long-term care, permitting individuals including those with multiple sclerosis (MS) to remain in their communities and avoid or delay nursing home or foster care placements. AARP has estimated that family caregivers provide $470 billion in uncompensated care annually, a staggering statistic that exceeds annual federal and state spending on Medicaid health services and long-term services and supports—saving the federal government money and, of course, keeping loved ones at home. While the benefits of family caregiving are plentiful, caregiving can take its toll. Caregivers of people with MS spend about 24 hours a week providing care. Of these caregivers, 64% are emotionally drained, 32% experience depression and 22% have lost a job due to caregiving responsibilities.
The National MS Society applauds the HELP Committee for passing the RAISE Act and working to give our nation’s family caregivers the support they deserve and need. The legislation is supported by more than 58 national organizations
including AARP, Alzheimer’s Association, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Easter Seals, Elizabeth Dole Foundation, National Respite Coalition and Paralyzed Veterans of America.