Public Investment in Home Health Care: A Win-Win Strategy for Employment and Public Health

Expanding Public Investment in Home Health Care

This paper by PERI researcher Lenore Palladino examines the impacts of a large-scale public investment expansion in home health care. Palladino describes how home health care—to the elderly and those with chronic health conditions—has been growing in importance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet home health care workers remain chronically underpaid and neglected. Palladino finds that public investment in the home health care industry can stabilize employment for millions of low-income women, raise public health standards, and also enhance employment conditions in other areas where low-income women are concentrated, including non-home care health care, food service, and retail.

Abstract

Home health care— to the elderly and those with chronic health conditions—is growing in importance in the Covid-19 pandemic era. In the United States, public investment in home health care can be a win-win strategy for public health and economic security. As a fundamental care industry, home health care has remained chronically underpaid and neglected in the policy response to the Covid-19 crisis. This article examines the impacts of large-scale public investment in home care. I find that large-scale public investment in the home health care industry can stabilize employment for millions of low-income women and, through their renewed economic activity, create or stabilize employment in the sectors hardest-hit by the pandemic and where low-income women are concentrated: non-home care health care, food service, and retail.

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