On Tuesday, May 16, The Arc of Massachusetts Government Affairs team took part in our first hearing for priority legislation in front of the Joint Committee on Healthcare Finance.
Senior Director of Government Affairs and Health Policy Maura Sullivan testified in support of S775/H1232 “An Act Relative to Family Members Serving as Caregivers,” filed by Representative James O’Day and Senator Joan Lovely. The Arc also recruited parents who testified remotely about the need for this bill, and two others who submitted written testimony that The Arc provided to the committee.
Below, please find an excerpt of Maura’s testimony.
The bill will allow legally liable family members (parents and guardians) to be paid caregivers under MassHealth programs.
This legislation will lift inequities for single parents, disproportionately BIPOC. With PCA shortages, many parent/guardians don’t have another choice but to provide these services themselves. Often parents and guardians give up working themselves or try to balance work with caregiving around the clock, in order to provide (unpaid) care to their loved one.
The Arc has prioritized this bill because we face a human services workforce crisis that has gone beyond unprecedented, and become a systemic failure, with parent guardians subsidizing the system.
This is the logical and equitable next step. We must stop taking advantage of this archaic policy and change it.
Many states have turned the tide on this policy: COVID and the workforce shortage have forced it. It’s time for Massachusetts lawmakers to do so too!