As concerns at the White House and Capitol Hill mount about zero jobs growth in the U.S. economy, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (Alliance) urged President Barack Obama and the newly appointed Congressional "Super Committee" to view Medicare not just as a vital seniors’ health program, but also as a key driver of local jobs that has now enabled the U.S. nursing home sector to become America’s second largest health facility employer and a cornerstone of local employment from coast to coast.

Noting the New York Times report on August 17 that deep government funding cuts have "led many in the health industry to caution that it cannot be relied upon to keep hiring workers," Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance, said the fact nursing homes employ 1.7 million Americans and generate $201 billion annually in economic activity should give pause to those who view Medicare as solely a program ripe for further cuts to meet deficit reduction targets. "Medicare is far more than just a key national health program, and serves as a cornerstone of rural, suburban and urban employment throughout America," Rosenbloom stated. "We encourage our national leaders to recognize and respect the dual benefits of Medicare as both a program crucial to the health and welfare of our seniors and a program that can reliably grow jobs…"




An effective job creation program must address the increasing need for support and services for the growing older adult population, according to two new issue briefs released by the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA), a coalition of 28 national organizations committed to person-centered team care for older adults. Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the briefs note that the health care labor market is expected to generate more than 3.2 million new jobs by 2018, largely due to the rapid growth in the elderly population.

As Congress and the Administration consider options to reduce the deficit while expanding jobs, the Alliance is calling for investments in Title VII and VIII programs, as well as training opportunities, and quality jobs for all members of the interdisciplinary team that is needed to care for older adults.

“We know it takes a team, including family caregivers and direct care workers, to care for older adults," said Alliance co-convener Nancy Lundebjerg. "Drawing people into the field of eldercare will directly impact the jobs crisis given the in growing need for a strong workforce to care for older adults. At the same time, we could strengthen support to family and informal caregivers who are juggling family caregiving responsibilities with full-time jobs. As a family caregiver, I know the importance of having well-coordinated care.” The Alliance cites the July 2011 AARP Public Policy Institute report, “Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update,” that estimated that $33.6 billion per year is lost from U.S. businesses whose employees are full-time caregivers for their family members. The brief argues that supporting our economy starts with supporting our families.

Despite the growing need for well-coordinated quality care, there is currently a shortage of healthcare professional and direct-care workers with training in the unique needs of older adults. "The direct-care workforce alone will require more than a million new employees to provide critical care to people with long-term care needs. These positions should include comprehensive training, and offer livable wages," said Alliance co-convener Steven Dawson.

In addition to being the primary source of funding for direct-care occupations, cuts to Medicaid, the brief states, would do further harm to the already beleaguered workforce, as nearly 20 percent currently rely on Medicaid or other public insurance at some point during the year to provide health coverage for themselves or for their families. “The impact of Congressional proposals to cut Medicaid would be equally devastating to older adults, health care jobs, and essential health care services,” said Dawson.

Calling for the strengthening of caregiving occupations, the Alliance argues that this sector is an important engine for economic growth in the United States.

The Eldercare Workforce Alliance is comprised of 28 national organizations united in their commitment to address the eldercare workforce shortage in order to ensure that older adults receive quality care in the settings of their choice.


The positions of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance reflect a consensus of 75 percent or more of its members. These statements reflect the consensus of the Alliance and do not necessarily represent the position of individual Alliance member organizations.




The Eldercare Workforce Alliance is a project of The Advocacy Fund.


Thanks to Rachel Feldman (Shiffrin), Project/Media Coordinator, for the information above.  Her contact information is (202) 414-8069 (p), and Like us on Facebook:



The Obama administration is targeting programs that help the poor and unemployed as it seeks to recover billions of dollars in improper payments.  See article at USA Today.  The latest target for government auditors is Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor and people with disabilities. The Health and Human Services Department announced an initiative aimed at recovering at least $2.1 billion in improper payments over five yearsThe Health and Human Services Department estimated that improper payments in Medicaid alone cost the government $22.5 billion last year.At the same time, the Labor Department will intensify its partnership with states to reduce improper payments of unemployment insurance. More than half the states have improper payment rates higher than 10%, led by Indiana and Louisiana at more than 40%, according to Labor Department data.


Medicare and Medicaid are considered high-risk programs by the Government Accountability Office because they are prone to high rates of fraud, waste, abuse and improper payments. The GAO estimates that $70 billion was lost through improper payments in 2010 — roughly 10% of their combined federal cost.

The effort to track improper government payments dates to 2002 under the Bush administration and was later expanded to include Medicare and, most recently, Medicaid. Last year’s health care law called for about $6 billion in savings by cracking down on waste and fraud.