Family caregivers are the backbone of services and supports in this country. They help make it possible for older adults and people with disabilities to live independently in their homes and communities. In 2013, about 40 million family caregivers provided unpaid care valued at about $470 billion to adults who needed help with daily activities, more than total Medicaid spending that year. About 3.7 million family caregivers provide care to a child under age 18 because of a medical, behavioral, or other condition or disability.
If family caregivers were no longer available, the economic cost to the U.S. health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems would increase astronomically. Our country relies on the contributions family caregivers make and should recognize and support them. Supporting family caregivers helps the caregivers themselves, the millions of individuals who rely on them, and also the economy and the workplaces who benefit from the contributions of family caregivers. The Autism Society urges Congress to enact the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1719/H.R. 3099) introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Kathy Castor (D-FL). This bill would implement the bipartisan recommendation of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care that Congress require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. Learn more and encourage your Representative to vote Yes to enact RAISE Family Caregivers Act.