As a voice for family caregivers, the National Alliance for Caregiving often participates in public discussions about the needs of caregivers and policy solutions that may better support their care. The Alliance regularly engages in partnerships with other advocates for the aging and persons with disabilities to find cross-cutting solutions that will support caregiving.
Key Federal Legislation
*Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act
Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop, maintain and update an integrated national strategy to recognize and support family caregivers. Brings together relevant federal agencies and others from private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations regarding the national strategy.
Sponsor: Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
Last action: Senate—Passed HELP Committee
*Credit for Caring Act
Provides a tax credit of up to $3,000 for qualified families to help defray the costs of caring for a loved one. This credit would be available to caregivers of persons across the lifespan (adult or for a child with a disability).
Sponsor: Representative Tom Reed (R-NY); Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Last action: House—In Ways and Means Committee; Senate—In Finance Committee
*Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act
The Lifespan Respite Care Program provides competitive grants to state agencies working in concert with Aging and Disability Resource Centers and non-profit state respite organizations to make quality respite available and accessible to family caregivers. This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program at $15 million a year for five years.
Sponsor: Representative James Langevin (D-RI); Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
Last action: House—In Energy and Commerce Committee; Senate—In HELP Committee
*Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2017
This bill expands eligibility for the family caregiver program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to include members of the Armed Forces or veterans who are seriously injured or who became ill on active duty prior to September 11, 2001 (currently, limited to service after September 11, 2001). Services to caregivers of veterans under such program are expanded to include child care services, financial planning services, and legal services.
Sponsor: Representative James Langevin (D-RI); Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
Last action: Hearing held in Senate Special Committee on Aging
Other Important Initiatives
This is legislation we are following. The National Alliance for Caregiving supports and will be tracking the progression of:
*The National Care Corps Act
Creates a volunteer workforce by placing volunteers in communities where they provide services that help seniors and individuals with disabilities remain independent. The legislation provides volunteers with health insurance and other benefits during their time of service, along with an educational award that can be used to pay education costs or loans.
Sponsor: Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
Last action: To be introduced soon
*Social Security Caregiver Credit Act
Provides a social security credit to be added to a person’s total career earnings and used to calculate future social security benefits. This is a progressive benefit for caregivers who spend at least 80 hours a month providing care. This includes caregivers of a parent, aunt, uncle, grandchild, niece, nephew, spouse, or domestic partner.
Sponsor: Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Last action: Introduced in Senate
*Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act
Provides workers with up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time for their own serious health condition, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery; the serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse or domestic partner; the birth or adoption of a child; and/or for military caregiving and leave purposes. The benefit would be administered through a new Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave within the Social Security Administration. Payroll contributions would cover both insurance benefits and administrative costs.
Sponsor: Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT); Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Last action: House—In Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources; Senate—In Finance Committee
Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act
Provides grants to public and non-profit organizations to expand and improve training and support services for families and caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The bill ensures that grantees provide public outreach on the services they offer under this program and that grantees provide services in a culturally appropriate manner.
Sponsor: Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA); Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Last action: Senate—In Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
*Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training (PCHETA) Act
Would increase the number of permanent faculty in palliative care at accredited allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, nursing schools, social work schools, and other programs, including physician assistant education programs, to promote education and research in palliative care and hospice, and to support the development of faculty careers in academic palliative medicine.
Sponsor: Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY); Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Last action: House—Energy and Commerce Committee; Senate—In HELP Committee
The Prescription Drug User Fee (PDUFA) Act
PDUFA was created by Congress in 1992 and authorizes FDA to collect fees from companies that produce certain human drug and biological products. Since the passage of PDUFA, user fees have played an important role in expediting the drug approval process. PDUFA must be reauthorized every five years, and was renewed in 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012.
Sponsor: Representative Greg Walden (R-OR); Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Last action: House—Sent to Senate; Senate: On legislative Calendar
Independence at Home Act
Expands and scales the Independence at Home (IAH) demonstration program. IAH requires primary care providers to provide care in the home setting, 24/7, and to meet specific quality measures, including providing advance care planning.
Sponsor: Senators Ed Markey (D-MA)
Last action: Senate—In Finance Committee
Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017
Would implement Medicare payment policies to improve management of chronic disease, streamline care coordination, and improve quality outcomes without adding to the deficit. Permanently authorizes Medicare Advantage SNPs. Provides more flexibility in allowable Supplemental Benefits in Medicare Advantage, such as healthy meals and transportation to medical appointments. Expands the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model to all 50 states. Expands telemedicine benefits in Medicare Advantage.
Sponsor: Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Last action: Senate—In Finance Committee