Healthcare, Social Problems, Social Safety Net

Opinion: The Big, Feminist Policy Idea America’s Families Have Been Waiting For

How Universal Family Care could help people throughout their lives.

By Ai-jen Poo and Benjamin W. Veghte

Ms. Poo and Dr. Veghte are architects of Universal Family Care.

June 23, 2019

A vast majority of Americans cannot afford to take care of their families. But they see it as their responsibility, and too often their failure. To get by, they cobble together solutions, even quitting their jobs to look after a newborn or when a parent becomes ill. Things are getting worse as baby boomers age into their 70s. America’s piecemeal and expensive care infrastructure, created a half century ago, has reached a breaking point.

Our organization will unveil a new social insurance program on Monday called Universal Family Care that could fix this crisis. It would provide affordable early child care, paid leave, assistance for people with disabilities and elder care for people of all incomes. We need an integrated approach because no one experiences needs in isolation: We might need help right after an injury, or over the course of our lives to help a disabled family member thrive.

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