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Taxing the Wealthy to Pay for Universal Home Care

Activists in Maine are mobilizing to a path-breaking proposal on the 2018 ballot that would fund in-home services for the states elderly and disabled.

Ai-jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Caring Across Generations campaign: "The Maine campaign for universal in-home care could be the next big thing in the care movement. It could be a blueprint for the nation."

Ai-jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Caring Across Generations campaign: "The Maine campaign for universal in-home care could be the next big thing in the care movement. It could be a blueprint for the nation." (Photo: Courtesy of Inequality.org)

Maine is developing a well-deserved reputation for cutting-edge progressive ballot initiatives. In 2016, voters approved proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage, raise taxes on the wealthy to fund education, introduce ranked choice voting, and legalize marijuana.

The key force behind the state’s progressive ballot initiatives, the Maine People’s Alliance, has just launched a campaign to put another landmark issue on the 2018 ballot: universal home care for the elderly and disabled.

There’s no question that such services are sorely needed — particularly in Maine, the state with the country’s highest median age. Caring for this rapidly aging population is extremely costly. The median annual cost for home care is now more than $50,000. That’s about on par with Maine’s median income for an entire household.

Medicare does not cover the costs of in-home care and Medicaid reimbursement rates are so low that employers have difficulty finding workers willing to do this tough work for the meager wages they offer.

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Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project of the Institute for Policy Studies, and is a co-editor of Inequality.org. @Anderson_IPS

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