America’s Long-Term Care System Is Broken

America’s Long-Term Care System Is Broken

People living in long-term care facilities represent less than 1 percent of the U.S. population but account for a third of its COVID deaths: more than 174,000 people as of early March. Problems with long-term care precede COVID. The program reimburses nursing homes only for 70 to 80 percent of those costs, so it is harder for them to provide quality care. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs), who furnish the bulk of care in nursing homes, earn only about $14 an hour; recruiting and retaining them is a huge challenge. The act includes provisions to attract and retain employees, such as providing loan forgiveness for new graduates working in long-term care, tax credits for employees, and support for child care and affordable housing.

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