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One Year into the Biden Administration's Care Executive Order

News
Article

The executive order was created to acknowledge the challenges faced by families in accessing affordable, high-quality care, mainly due to the gap between costs and what families can afford.

As the Biden-Harris Administration celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Care Executive Order, it reflects on a year of progress made in supporting high-quality care and education for all ages, as well as long-term care, for the nation's economic growth, security and military readiness.

Caregiver and childcare.

Caregiver and childcare.

The executive order was created to acknowledge the challenges faced by families in accessing affordable, high-quality care, mainly due to the gap between costs and what families can afford.

In particular, women of color, which make up a significant portion of the care workforce, often experience financial strain and limited access to benefits.

Therefore, the order aims to address these disparities by supporting families, including military and veteran families, in accessing affordable care while ensuring fair compensation and job quality for care workers.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra stated in an HHS news release that, no one will go through life without providing care for someone or needing it themselves.

“Care is a true equalizer,” Becerra said. “But our access to that critical care is not equal. And we should be doing more to lift up our caregivers.”

According to data on the executive order from The White House, key efforts of the executive order include:

  • Increasing Compensation and Improving Job Quality: Efforts have been made to issue guidance to states to enhance funding for home- and community-based workers serving Medicaid beneficiaries. Strategies to align compensation and benefits between Head Start staff and elementary school teachers have been implemented. Additionally, support for mental health services and training pathways for caregivers has been emphasized.
  • Making Care More Accessible and Affordable: Agencies have been directed to identify funds for childcare and long-term care for workers on federally funded projects. Steps have been taken to lower childcare costs for families eligible for federal programs and to enhance access to childcare services for federal employees.
  • Expanding Options for Families by Building the Supply of Care: Initiatives have been launched to improve access to home- and community-based services under Medicaid and to support childcare providers in expanding options for families. Efforts to expand programs like Veteran Directed Care and Home-Based Primary Care for veterans have also been encouraged.
  • Encouraging Greater Private Financial Protection and Technical Assistance: Proposals have been made to facilitate capital flows to care providers through Community Development Financial Institutions. Guidance for individuals in the care workforce to start and maintain care businesses has been provided, along with efforts to address financial institution practices affecting the care workforce.

In response to these actions, significant progress has been made in the past year in implementing the Care Executive Order.

Some highlights include:

  1. The Department of Commerce (DOC) announced the co-hosting of the first National Child Care Innovation Summit, emphasizing the role of child care as economic infrastructure.
  2. The Department of Transportation (DOT) introduced a new $4.2 million funding opportunity under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support workforce development programs for highway construction.
  3. The Department of Treasury published a fact sheet highlighting certain employer-provided "work-life referral services" as de minimis fringe benefits.
  4. Various resources have been released, including publications by the White House Council of Economic Advisers and the Department of Labor, aimed at supporting stakeholders in making thoughtful investments in childcare and long-term care.

HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm commended the executive order in the release for recognizing the importance of caregivers and care workers in our lives and feels its actions will make sure those will receive the support they deserve.

“Caregiving is critical to our economy and to the health of our communities, and the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing support of caregivers and care workers demonstrates our commitment to them,” Palm said.

As the Biden administration continues its commitment to care, a fact sheet disclosing the progression made in the last year shared that the administration aims to further bridge the gap in access to affordable, high-quality care for all families, ensuring economic prosperity and national security for generations to come.

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