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‘A Broken Health Care System’ for Ill People and Their Caregivers

To the Editor:

Re “Caregivers Helped Us Be a Family. We Were Fortunate,” by Rachael Scarborough King (Opinion guest essay, Jan. 8):

Ms. King, the wife of Ady Barkan, who died in November, shares the stark reality of what it means to be a caregiver for someone with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Their caregiving journey underscores the political and policy choices that have led to inequalities and challenges in accessing quality care.

Receiving dignified care should be a fundamental right for all. Legislators need to pass a federal paid family and medical leave policy, like the FAMILY Act. Caregiving causes disruption in work, career and financial security for the caregivers. Without paid time off, it is almost inevitable that providing long-term caregiving leads to financial instability.

Paid family and medical leave also enables disabled persons to work and contribute to the economy by allowing them paid time to manage their own care. The Family Values @ Work Network has helped win paid family and medical leave in 13 states and Washington, D.C. State wins are the blueprint for a successful national program.

Paid family and medical leave make it possible to be there for people who need us, whether for a short or long period of time, whether for them to recover or take their last breath.

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