LTE - Kathleen Stoll

  • Kathleen Stoll Policy director for West Virginians for Affordable Health Care and operates Kat Consulting
  • Jul 24, 2021

In West Virginia, everyone knows that our roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair. But getting serious about economic recovery also means reckoning with a care economy that was struggling long before COVID and has suffered exponentially throughout the pandemic. Because—as anyone who has been a caretaker knows—people who don’t have access to care for loved ones can’t stay in the workforce or contribute to our economy.

Our state has one of the oldest populations in the country and over 14,000 home care workers. With an average hourly wage of $9.78, it’s no surprise that 26% of home care workers fall below the poverty line and that 38% are on food assistance here in West Virginia. President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda will invest $400 billion in care for our elders and people with disabilities, creating over 6,000 new jobs in our state and ensuring that these essential workers are paid a living wage.

That’s why, in addition to passing the job-creating infrastructure investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, we need to fund affordable housing and community-based care for elderly and disabled West Virginians.

Congress needs to pass the full Build Back Better agenda that includes all $400 billion worth of funding for care for older folks and disabled West Virginians —just like President Biden outlined in the American Jobs Plan.

Our representatives in Congress must make sure that their plan to invest in infrastructure includes these critical investments in care giving. Because just like clean water and safe bridges, access to care is essential to building a sustainable, equitable economy that works for everyone.