Landmark Legislation Transforms Long-term Healthcare in Hawaii

September 22, 2017

The Domestic Workers Legacy Fund works to support nannies, housekeepers, caregivers for the elderly and other domestic workers to advance the rights and socio-economic well-being of domestic workers. Thanks to support from Voqal, the Domestic Workers Legacy Fund was able to pass landmark legislation in Hawaii that established the nation’s first publicly funded, long-term care benefit program, the Hawaii Kupuna Caregivers program.

Among other things, the Kupuna Caregivers Program serves Hawaii seniors who need care and enables family members to maintain their employment while providing in-home care for loved ones. According to Hawaii resident, Bob Stiver “I am relieved for a program like the Hawaii Kupuna Caregivers program that will support other family caregivers like myself.” And maintaining employment is vital. According to Bob, “Ten additional years of employment would have meant $35,000 annually, totaling $350,000.” And that doesn’t even take into account the positive effect the taxes on those wages would have had on government revenues. Bottom line, this law is not only a huge win for both those providing and utilizing long-term healthcare in Hawaii, but all of Hawaii’s residents.

Wins like this don’t come easy. If it weren’t for the work of the Domestic Workers Legacy Fund and its partner Caring Across Generations, this important step forward for long-term care may never have taken place. Their work to establish significant and conspicuous public, media and policymaker support for the program was vital to the successful passage of this important law. Furthermore, this campaign has created an advocacy template and example from which other states can now learn from and use in their efforts to pass similar legislation.

While there is still a great deal of work to be done, this landmark victory transcends its immediate impacts at a critically important time in the nation’s history. As a strong believer in a socially equitable word, Voqal is proud to have supported this work to give Hawaiian seniors and those who provide their long-term medical care a fair shot at economic prosperity.