Home / World News / Opinion | ‘It Should Not Be This Hard’: When Family Members Provide the Care

Opinion | ‘It Should Not Be This Hard’: When Family Members Provide the Care

Medicare currently pays for 100 days but only after a three-day stay in a hospital. Medicaid pays for unlimited care in nursing homes as an entitlement but provides home-care reimbursement only to a limited number of people after they are on a waiting list. There is a relatively simple remedy: Amend Medicaid to provide the same entitlement for home and community-based services as are provided for nursing homes. This will help family caregivers a lot.

Opinion Debate
What should the Biden administration prioritize?

  • Oren Cass argues that the president’s (as well as Mitt Romney’s) child benefit plans go too far in providing cash without employment, and that “a program should ask recipients to do their part in supporting themselves.”
  • Jamelle Bouie, Opinion columnist, writes that recent pro-Union comments raise “expectations for what Biden can and should accomplish as president on behalf of the labor movement.”
  • The Editorial Board argues that as the “pandemic will not be vanquished anywhere until it is vanquished everywhere,” the president should engage in a robust “vaccine diplomacy” in addition to domestic efforts.
  • Gail Collins, Opinion columnist, writes that while one can appreciate that Joe Biden is busy, there’s “absolutely no reason we shouldn’t start to nag” on new gun control measures.

Stephen F. Gold
The writer is a retired disability lawyer.

To the Editor:

I was really moved by Kate Washington’s essay and so sad for America. You probably get fed up with people writing letters saying how good their system is elsewhere. Well, here’s another one!

I’m from Australia, and while things are a long way from perfect, here is our experience after my husband’s catastrophic spinal injury nearly two years ago. My husband had seven months in a hospital, including intensive care and rehab (free); three months of intensive physical therapy at home (free); 12 months of follow-up with the spinal outreach team (free); the option for continuing home care and physical therapy (free).

I am his caretaker, and it can still be hard at times, but I feel that I can rely on community and health support when needed. I am eligible for carer’s leave and an annual carer’s allowance of $3,000 anytime I need it. All for 1.5 percent of my income a year via my taxes while I’m working, and free after that.

Diane Brown
Sydney, Australia

To the Editor:

I survived a 10-year caregiver role for my Alzheimer’s-stricken spouse. Death saved him eight years ago.

We unpaid caregivers hold our shrinking world together, shunned by friends who decline to sit at a dinner table with a dementia patient. Families live far away, arrive occasionally for the luxury of a social visit unaware of the trials of the stressed, sleep-deprived, frantic caregiver, her world flittering apart.

We write alimony checks to an ex-wife, are consumed by financial fear, enroll our loved one in clinical trials, travel for a specialist’s opinion, walk away from our careers, weep for the daily loss of a spouse, seek a therapist who helps us scale the hurdles.

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