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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Campaign Aims to Pressure Congress to Include $400 Billion in Home and Community-Based Services Promised By President Biden in the Budget Reconciliation Package

WASHINGTON -

Today, Ady Barkan, health care advocate and Be A Hero co-founder, joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union on a powerful new television and digital ad campaign in Arizona. The campaign aims to pressure Congress to include the $400 billion investment in home and community-based services (HCBS) promised by President Biden in the budget reconciliation package.

The ads feature the stories of Arizona residents who rely on home care to survive at home with their loved ones. They close with an urgent plea to call Sen. Sinema and tell her, “home care can’t wait.” The significant six-figure campaign starts on Sunday. The investment marks the beginning of a multi-state, targeted push in digital & broadcast media markets across the Country, urgently calling on Congress to expand this safety net for domestic homecare workers, and expand access services now.

“Although the need for home care is enormous, acquiring services is sadly out of reach for too many. Currently, 158,000 Arizonans depend on home and community-based services (HCBS). Approximately 67,000 home care workers reside in the state. Across the United States, almost a million people are on waiting lists for home care and in danger of being ripped away from their families and forced to live in institutions,” said Ady Barkan, co-founder of Be A Hero. “Sadly, we know that during the pandemic, at least 134,000 nursing home residents died of COVID-19. We hope we can count on Sen. Sinema to be a hero and fully fund the initial $400 billion needed to make critical investments into HCBS. The lives of hundreds of thousands of disabled Americans, like Taryn’s and Marcos, are on the line.”

“For far too long, aging Americans and those with disabilities have been warehoused, abused, and deprived of the opportunity to live their fullest possible lives, but Congress now has the chance to transform our safety net by investing in long term care,” said Vikrum Aiyer, deputy director at the ACLU’s National Political Advocacy Department. “Expanding home and community-based services would transform the lives of millions of seniors and people with disabilities who rely on long-term support; expand labor protections for home care workers; and empower our most vulnerable to live freely and independently. Our investment in this campaign is vital to ensuring that the Senate recognizes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to urgently pass a budget reconciliation bill that invests in our communities and supports the people who need long term care. We cannot wait any longer.”

The first ad shares the story of Taryn Bailey, a 16-year old who is only able to live at home and be out and about in the community thanks to her lifelong occupational therapist Nina Castillo. The piece, narrated by Taryn’s mother, will run on TV and appear on digital.

The second ad features Marcos Castillo, a quadriplegic who needs home care to assist him at home. When another caregiver is unavailable, Marcos must rely on his girlfriend to pick up the slack, which he notes is “not fair to anyone’s mental health or relationship.” Marcos adds that the problem is “we have a wage disparity. We do not pay caregivers enough for the work they do.” The digital ad will appear in English and Spanish.

A recent Morning Consult-Politico poll shows 76 percent, including 64 percent of Republican voters, favor President Biden’s caregiving proposal. That’s consistent with past polling that has found that the majority of Americans support investments in home care.

As Congress prepares to debate the budget during the reconciliation process, Be A Hero has also teamed up with home care consumers throughout the country to highlight the need for $400 billion in HCBS funding. 

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The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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