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Rebecca is not the type that usually comes to mind when thinking about the importance of affordable prescription drugs and access to home care services, especially for older people. Instead, Rebecca is a 32-year-old millennial who works full-time and also cares for her mother who has had a stroke. Rebecca and her new husband returned to her mother’s childhood home in Queens, New York to help her with daily chores such as cooking and eating, taking medication and paying bills. Rebekah and her husband 53 million people in the US who care for the elderly or disabled, a number that has increased by nearly 10 million from 2015 to 2020.

In addition to home care, Rebecca’s mother requires at least eight different medications, including recently prescribed injectable medications that may not be covered by her mother’s insurance. “Every time another drug is added, we hold our breath,” Rebecca said. “My generation is already coping with multiple financial challenges. We need lower drug prices and a better support system for affordable, quality care when our loved ones need it.”

Elder Living expenses are growing, especially with regard to medical and long-term care. Prices on prescription drugs soared to the point where many older people are forced to cut their pills in half or miss life-saving medications generally.

Lack of access to affordable home care and prescription drugs places a heavy burden on workers who are also trying to meet family care needs. FROM average salary in the country less than $60,000 Every year, Americans who work every day face impossible choices, such as staying at work to pay for needed prescription drugs or staying at home to provide the care their loved ones need but can’t afford. This decision forces many out of the workforce and worsens the economic prospects for their own future.

The Senate can – and should – do something about this right now.

Every American deserves access to prescription drugs at the lowest bargain price. House passed Elijah Cummings Cuts Drug Costs, Now Acts (HR3) will save Medicare about $450 billion over ten years, largely by allowing the program to negotiate prices directly with Big Pharma. Or, under the Better Funds Recovery Act passed by the House of Representatives, Medicare will be able to negotiate prices for up to 10 drugs a year starting in 2023, and that number will eventually increase to 20 drugs a year. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal budget savings from drug price regulations will be $297 billion in ten years.

In any case, the ban on allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices should be lifted.

Through a legislative mechanism called budget reconciliation, with 50 votes, the Senate can accept vital investments from federal funding in the public interest. The elderly and their families need affordable home care so that family members are not forced to leave their jobs to take over caregiving. Professional carers—86 percent of whom are women, and most of them women of color—need a family-supporting wage. Pay Increases for Medicaid Home and Community Care Workers expand the labor market and strengthen that workforce, according to Moody’s Analytics.

Any reconciliation agreement passed by Congress must include these vital investments to lower the costs of caring families, strengthen the workforce, and lower prescription drug prices. Most Americans Agree: Recent Polls Show 87 percent of respondents support the policy of providing “affordable long-term care for the elderly and people with disabilities” and 81% support from Republicans to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.

We can afford this investment, but we cannot afford to wait. People like Rebekah, her husband and her mother, all of us, need the Senate to act now.

Ai-jen Pu is president of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Max Richtman is President and CEO of the nonprofit National Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare. He is the former chief of staff of the Senate Select Committee on Aging.

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