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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. 

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.


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