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EDITORIAL: Pass Better Care, Jobs Act

The Citizens' Voice - 9/18/2022

Sep. 18—Millions of Americans are familiar with the ordeal that actor/comedian Seth Rogen's family faced when his mother-in-law was afflicted with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

The difference between Rogen and most other Americans is clear: "The only way that it was remotely manageable is that I have an incredibly high-paying job," he said in a recent meeting with U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. "If that wasn't the case, it would have completely destroyed our family's ability to do any of the things we consider normal."

Rogen and his wife, Laura Miller Rogen, have formed Hilarity for Charity, a foundation that raises money for brain research and provides grants to families to pay between three and six months of home care for Alzheimer's patients. It funded 259 such grants in 2021.

The couple recently visited Casey, chairman of the Senate Committee on Aging, to help promote his Better Care, Better Jobs Act.

About 3.5 million families receive government assistance to provide home care under Medicaid, which is funded by federal and state governments but administered by states. Some states severely limit the assistance, so that nationwide about 820,000 are on waiting lists for assistance at home.

Casey's bill would expand Medicaid eligibility. Perhaps more important, it would provide extra funding to raise the wages of home health aides, who increasingly are in short supply partially due to low wages.

Even with wage increases, home care is far less expensive than institutional care, and in many cases it is far better for the patient's well-being and families' peace of mind.

Congress should pass the bill to help more families better care for loved ones afflicted with dementia.


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