May 11, 2021

At Virtual Town Hall, Duckworth Answers Questions from Midwest Health and Home Care Workers


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) participated in a virtual town hall today with healthcare, child care, home care and nursing home workers from Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas (SEIU HCIIMK). Duckworth heard about the SEIU’s efforts on COVID-19 vaccine education and access to vaccination appointments for its members and she answered questions about federal economic recovery efforts through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and American Jobs Plan. Duckworth was joined by several SEIU members, including HCII Executive Vice President Erica Bland-Durosinmi.

“Our nation’s dedicated healthcare, child, nursing and home care workers are a part of legions of essential workers that have been serving on the front lines to keep our country running during a deadly pandemic,” said Duckworth. “I am grateful for the vital work that these Americans do, proud that I was able help secure more than $11 billion in emergency federal funding for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services programs that support them. I will continue working in Congress to achieve the vision in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan to invest in our home and community-based care workforce – which is a pillar of the care economy and vital resource for families in need of quality care for aging loved ones.”

Despite Republican refusal to prioritize direct emergency funding for critical Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services that could literally help save lives during this deadly pandemic, Duckworth worked with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to secure more than $11 billion in the American Rescue Plan for HCBS programs that empower Americans with disabilities and older Americans to receive care at home. The funding was a huge step forward for the disability community and allows state Medicaid programs to expand access to vital services and appropriately support the providers and home care workers who deliver essential care.

In February, Duckworth joined Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) in re-introducing the Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act, legislation that would provide compensation for injuries to any individual, or their families, who are deemed an essential worker and required to leave their home to perform services and who became ill or died as a result of COVID-19. She also joined Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in introducing the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act to create a permanent, national paid family and medical leave program. Both bills have been endorsed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).