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Editorial: Act would help solve looming elder care crisis

The Everett Herald

As our society ages, we have to make a provision for family members’ and our own long-term care.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 8:32am

OPINION IN OUR VIEW

By The Herald Editorial Board

One of the bipartisan success stories from last year’s legislative session was the passage of a long-sought paid-family leave law that put Washington state among only five states with such a law.

The legislation provides workers with up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child or a worker’s or family member’s serious medical issue. Modest payments to workers on leave will be supported through payroll deductions, paid by employees and employers, that begin next year Jan. 1.

The state actually had a family leave law on the books since 2007, but the Legislature had never agreed to a funding mechanism. That changed last year, through bipartisan action.

The paid family leave law recognized the importance of work and family, helping families meet expenses when time away from work was necessary, while helping employers retain valued employees.

Lawmakers again, in addressing an issue that almost all families face, now has legislation before them that offers a similar solution.

According to a fact sheet prepared by Washingtonians for a Responsible Future, about 7 in 10 Americans, 65 or older, will need long-term care services, such as in-home or nursing home care, during their lifetimes. But neither Medicare, nor most health insurance plans provide for long-term care, which can include help with bathing, dressing, eating and hygiene. Care is available through Medicaid, but individuals must impoverish themselves to be eligible.

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