The Infrastructure Of Aging. Steve Williamson welcomes back Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare to discuss the $400 billion for elderly care included in President Biden’s infrastructure bill.
Though it’s not what many consider infrastructure, Richtman stresses the importance of the proposal as an additional 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day. At some point, most of those people will require some form of care. It’s more efficient and humane to care for them in their own homes. But, Richtman says, “There simply are not enough homecare workers in this country to meet the demand now, let alone in the future.”
Richtman explains that one of the reasons for the shortage is that salaries are so pitiful (the average salary is just $17,000 a year). He adds, “One of the things I find that is so amazing is that we are relying on unpaid caregivers in this country. Mostly women. They often have to leave the work force.” According to Richtman, this compounds the problem, noting that when they leave the workforce, they’re not paying into Social Security. As a result, they’re sacrificing their own Social Security benefits in the future. He says the proposed bill would create a caregivers’ formula that would be applied to the Social Security structure so their benefits would not be reduced.
Richtman notes the proposal is about 20 percent of the president’s infrastructure bill. “I think it’s important to give Biden credit for trying to prioritize elderly homecare in this package,” he says. “We’re going to have more seniors requiring care with fewer young people around to provide it.”