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Thousands of Arizonans hope funding for special needs stays in Build Back Better plan

Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 05, 2021

CHANDLER — Marcos Castillo lives for the day he can run his own restaurant.

El Buen Taquito has been the family business since 1952.

“For me personally, that’s been my goal since I was 14,” Castillo said.

Confined to a wheelchair since a car accident left him paralyzed 20 years ago, Castillo sees a pathway to his goal.

It’s the $150 billion for home healthcare included in the Build Back Better Plan that is currently before Congress.

It would be life-changing for Castillo and the 158,000 other Arizonans who could benefit from consistent and reliable home care.

“It would take one of the biggest barriers to my independence out of the way and let me personally concentrate on helping others,” Castillo said.

The plan before Congress expands services and increases the salaries for home care workers, helping people who face barriers because social security and AHCCCS limit how much a person can earn to be eligible under the existing programs.

In Castillo’s case, he can’t marry his fiancé because her salary will make him ineligible for the three hours-per-day care he currently receives.

“I’m watching 20 hours a day if something is going to pass.”

What Castillo saw Friday was Democrats trying and failing to work out differences within their own caucus.

Build Back Better, and Castillo’s hope for an independent life, are going to have to wait.