The movement to include caregiver issues in the agenda of political parties in all 50 states has started to take off, thanks to the efforts of volunteers in Arizona and California. With the help of the caregivercorps.org team, submissions for platform language additions have been made to both political parties. And the stage is set for caregivers, and those who support them, to join forces in creating awareness and change.
Arizona volunteers Katherine Evans, Lois von Halle, and Bonnie Danowski drafted language about caregiver needs to add to the platform of the Arizona Democratic Party. They attended an open meeting of the Party’s Platform Committee where they met with the committee chair, Dr. Janie Hydrick. Ms. Danowski said they received a warm welcome and that the process had been much easier than anticipated. Energized by their success, the three women plan to meet with representatives of the Arizona Republican Party.
In California, state coordinator Naomi Kirschenbaum has submitted platform language suggestions to both the Democratic and Republican Parties. She recently attended a meeting of the California Democratic Party in Burlingame. At the meeting, the chairperson clarified the party’s platform as a statement of values. Ms. Kirschenbaum was well prepared when her turn to speak came, and handed a written statement to the Platform Committee co-chair as well. She has been so inspired by her experiences that she wants to help organize an additional state!
This is a grassroots movement that needs to be fueled by the passion of local people. The success of our goal—to get caregiving issues included in party platforms across the country—depends on people from all walks of life joining us. Your participation, on whatever level is possible, is key. Model platform plank language is being created for submission to political parties in other states. We will make those templates available on the caregivercorps.org website to support volunteer organizing efforts.
The voices of 65 million caregivers joined together would be impossible to ignore. There will be many meetings in communities leading up to the 2016 election, opportunities for you to make your voice heard. If you want to join us, find out more at Get Started. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
California Democratic Party Submission, August 11, 2015
“Families are the backbone of care for ill people, including patients enrolled in home health or hospice care. Nowadays, caregiving takes a toll of family members’ work life, finances, as well as their emotional and physical wellbeing. It is as if family caregiving itself were a serious diagnosis.”
“Our policies must deliver family caregivers from anonymity and support the vital work they do.”
Ira Byock, MD
Institute for Human Caring, Providence Health & Services, Torrance, CA
Active Emeritus Professor, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Author of The Best Care Possible
California’s In-Home Support Services (IHSS) pays caregivers for caring for low income elderly patients, allowing the elderly to stay in their private homes and out of nursing homes. Now, caregivers that live in the homes of their patients will not be taxed on their incomes. The IRS applies this rule to all state Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waiver programs, including California’s IHSS. However, the caregivers often have incomes that are so low, that they need their incomes to be taxable in order to claim the income tax credit. The rule is the same for paid caregiving relatives that live in the home.
For the full article, please visit the San Francisco Chronicle website: http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/Little-known-tax-break-for-in-home-caregivers-6126375.php
The cost of health care will continue to be a major issue in the current California legislative session according to State Assemblymember David Hadley (R-South Bay). According to Hadley, seniors were the first to feel the brunt of rising costs.
“California is among the highest-cost states in the country – high housing costs, high sales taxes, gas taxes, taxes on insurance premiums, cap-and-trade taxes. Part of what we need to do to make California more cost-effective for seniors are policies that will benefit all Californians” – Asm. David Hadley, Assembly District 66
Hadley argues that part of the solution is to find new opportunities where seniors can cut costs. One possibility is to broaden their ability to complete 1031 tax-free real estate exchanges. This enables someone to move into new housing and still benefit from Proposition 13, which helps keep property taxes low for long-time homeowners.
According to the California Healthcare Foundation, California health insurance premiums have increased by 9.8 percent since 2011 — a reality that is catching many seniors on a fixed income by surprise.