“Care” Documentary – Federal Legislative Call to Action

Care, a documentary presented by the GRACE Program at the UT- Steve Hicks School of Social Work, highlights the stories of several caregivers and the significant challenges they face day to day in their efforts to provide support and care for older adults.

The film delves into widespread systemic issues, such as insufficient wages for professional caregivers often leaving them unable to adequately provide for themselves and their own families.? Care shines a light on the realities of the unsustainable cost of care for many families who fall into poverty and significant debt to simply survive.

Family Eldercare’s own Joyce Hefner, Director of Housing and Community Services, presented on a panel during a screening of Care at the Blanton Museum of Art to share her expertise, and raise awareness of how these issues affect the community; as well as inspire a call to action to push for legislative change. The documentary highlights a number of significant issues that are addressed by current legislation, which are listed below. The legislation provide an opportunity for us as a community to get involved, and be heard together, as a movement of positive change for a better quality of care and a higher level of support and funding for those who are most in need.

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Federal Legislation

  1. S 2227– “Under this program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must award grants to state Medicaid programs to assist in re-balancing states’ long-term care systems.”
  2. HR 1826 – “This bill amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to provide additional federal Medicaid funding to states participating in Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
  3. S 3330 – “This bill protects the Medicare and Medicaid programs with respect to certain changes in reconciliation legislation.”
  4. HR 15 – “Raise the wage acts increase the minimum wage for regular employees, tipped employees, newly hired employees, and individuals with disabilities.”

State Legislation

  1. HB 816 & SB 327 – “These bills will expand Medicaid in Texas in order to help people in need of care who cannot afford it, and provide a safety net for direct care workers who may not earn enough to pay for private health insurance.”
  2. SB 145 – “People with pre-exisiting conditions should not be barred from health benefit plans – doing so would limit coverage for some of the most vulnerable Texans. This bill allows for these necessary health benefit plans.
  3. Healthy Texas Act of 2019 – “This campaign to enact single-payer healthcare for all Texans will expand healthcare access to all Texans, including those receiving care in the community.”
  4. HB 222 – “This bill impedes paid sick leave that protects workers and care recipients. Direct care workers should not have to choose between losing wages or risking infecting their clients.”

Thank you to the GRACE Program for providing the literature on federal and state legislation, as well as their significant support in the community. For more information about the GRACE Program (Gerontology Resources and the Aging Community in Education), contact saswords@mail.texas.edu or mollycohen@utexas.edu.

A special thank you to the St. David’s Foundation for facilitating the screening and panel discussion at The Blanton Musuem of Art and inviting Family Eldercare to participate in the discussion.