Yet another last gasp!

Aged care tends to be surprisingly contentious. One hears occasional horror stories. Late last year, we were warned off one establishment that apparently had begun to fail in its duties of care. Since then we have had nothing but admiration for the establishment in which my mother resides.

We are also members of a generation that thinks money just grows on trees. You want some? Just pluck away. Hence the imbecility of government economic policies of recent years, not least the monster, when not plain ludicrous, fraud of economic stimulus. Now comes a fresh statement of greed.

Radical new plan for aged-care funding would save family home

shouts the banner headline in The Australian. The crux of it, naturally, is vastly greater burdens placed upon taxpayers, already not a very happy bunch.

FIRE sales of the family home to pay huge accommodation bonds for residential aged-care places would be a thing of the past under a radical new blueprint for Australia’s aged-care sector.

Older people would instead be able to use equity from their own home to fund an aged-care place through a form of government-backed reverse mortgage, the Productivity Commission proposes.

In its report to the Gillard government, Caring for Older Australians, the commission calls for the family home to be counted in calculating a person’s wealth, to determine their capacity to contribute to their own aged care.

The rich would be required to contribute up to 25 per cent of the costs of their aged-care services – items such as help with showering and toileting as well as house cleaning and shopping – to a lifetime cap of $60,000. However, the government would continue to fund about 85 per cent of aged-care costs.

Given the contents of the third paragraph, what changes? Indeed, why should it? One reason: greed. The final quoted sentence probably warrants closer attention: is it talking of low-care residential care or something else? And before all that, isn’t “family home” something of an oxymoron when so few families remain constant? And that, too, a condition to which Australian governments have made a substantial contribution.




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