The $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan unveiled Wednesday evening by President Joe Biden leaves out many of the ambitious healthcare proposals he campaigned on, limiting new long-term care spending to an expected $400 billion to boost the caretaking economy.
That funding, which will require Congressional approval, would expand access to programming, target wait lists for services and potentially improve caregiver pay, according to a fact sheet published by the White House before Biden’s official announcement.
On first inspection, the plan bypasses issues surrounding Medicare eligibility and provides no further provider relief, a component physicians and other healthcare providers had been clamoring for.
Still, the new funding proposed for home- and community-based care likely won’t be the last healthcare initiative the president presents as a critical investment in the nation’s aging infrastructure.
The first prong of the White House proposal — investing in domestic manufacturing; the caregiving economy; climate; and more traditional roads, bridges and rail — would be financed in large part through business tax increases.
Biden hopes to push it through Congress by May 31, though success is anything but certain. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Wednesday night he would “not likely” support the plan, given its price tag and Biden’s strategy to finance it through increased corporate taxes.
Yet, White House officials say they’ll keep pushing for more, telling CNN that a second prong of the infrastructure effort with an additional $2 trillion in costs would be packed with broader healthcare initiatives, childcare supports, new federal family leave policies and plans to address education infrastructure.
LeadingAge maintains that “healthcare is infrastructure,” arguing that related bills ought to include more support for aging and disabled populations. The organization’s national leaders have also said they hoped an infrastructure bill could serve as a vehicle for a deficit-spending exemption that would stop a 4% Medicare cut from hitting all providers this fall.
Today, the trade association is releasing its own plan to build the national aging services infrastructure “needed to keep up with America’s growing older population.” Leaders will outline recommendations including investments in modernizing aging physical structures and ensuring needed services are in place and “financed adequately” across all settings.