Senate Passes Collins-Baldwin RAISE Family Caregivers Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Senate passed the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), this evening. The legislation must now be considered by the House of Representatives.

The RAISE Act would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and sustain a national strategy to recognize and support the 43 million family caregivers in the United States.  This bipartisan legislation is endorsed by a number of aging and disability organizations including the AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Geriatrics Society, and the Family Caregiver Alliance.

Our family caregivers are an invaluable resource to our aging society,” said Senator Collins. “As our aging population continues to grow and the need for round-the-clock care for our seniors increases, uncompensated family caregivers will continue to be the most important source of support for people who need long-term care. At some point most of us will likely either be family caregivers or someone who needs one. The RAISE Family Caregivers Act will launch a coordinated, national strategic plan that will help us to leverage our resources, promote innovation and promising practices, and provide our nation’s family caregivers with much-needed recognition and support.”

“I applaud the Senate’s move to advance the bipartisan RAISE Family Caregivers Act forward, and I’m proud of the widespread support, nationally and in Wisconsin, that this critical, bipartisan bill has received,” said Senator Baldwin. “In so many instances, family caregivers put their own health, livelihoods and financial security at risk to tend to the needs of their loved ones, many of whom require full-time assistance and care. If we are serious about ensuring that our older adults and loved ones with disabilities receive the highest quality care in their own homes, we must formally recognize and support family caregivers. The bipartisan RAISE Family Caregivers Act creates a national strategy and plan to assist family caregivers. This effort is especially personal to me as I was raised by my maternal grandparents and later served as my grandmother’s primary caretaker as she grew older, and I will continue to work to ensure that everyone has access to the care and assistance they need and deserve.”

The RAISE Act is based on a recommendation of the bipartisan Commission on Long Term Care and modeled on the law Senator Collins co-authored in 2010 with then-Senator Evan Bayh that created a coordinated strategic national plan to combat Alzheimer’s disease. 
 
The RAISE Act has been sponsored by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Bennet (D-CO), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).

Senators Collins and Baldwin introduced the bipartisan legislation in July 2015.
 
Important Facts on Family Caregivers:

  • 43 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated $470 billion in uncompensated long-term care in 2013.
    • This is an increase from $375 billion just two years earlier, and more than double the value of all paid long-term care. 
  • 34 percent of family caregivers are age 65 or older.
    • Many of these older caregivers are putting their own health at risk since caregivers experience high levels of stress and have a greater incidence of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and depression.
  • Every day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, and as many as 90 percent of them have one or more chronic health conditions. 
  • Americans 85 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. This population is most at risk of multiple and interacting health problems that can lead to disability and the need for round-the-clock care.