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Hon. Russ Carnahan, a Representative in Congress from the State of Missouri

Chairwoman Buerkle and Ranking Member Michaud, thank you for holding this needed to hearing to address the Implementation plan of the Caregivers Assistance Program.

As you know more than 50 million people in the U.S. provide some type of care giving for a chronically ill, disabled or aging family member or friend.  Our nation’s caregivers typically provide financial support and physical care for those who have severe chronic health conditions. 

Included in the group of individuals that rely on caregivers to help them with their day to day functions are our some of our most severely wounded veterans.  That’s why it is important that during this implementation stage of the caregiver assistance program, we must work in tandem with each other to get it right.

Caregivers are depending on us to develop a concrete and cohesive plan that will meet their needs by providing financial/physical assistance but also keep them in a position to continue providing the best care to their loved ones.  Caregivers not only play a critical role in recovery and maintaining quality of life for the veterans but without them the VA could face a tremendous burden in providing direct care to those many veterans that depend on family caregivers.  It is my hope that through implementation of the caregivers assistance program, we can begin to payback our debt to the individuals who are committed to a lifelong responsibility of providing care to those so desperately in need.

To all the witnesses and panelist with us—thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to appear before us.   I look forward to hearing your testimony.