There are those who ask, and I can see their point, why should we pay for rich people’s care in their old age. Aren’t the Tories right to make people sell up and take care of themselves?
Why should the taxpayer foot a bill for people’s old age care so that their offspring can profit from the sale of their house when they die? Isn’t it reasonable that assets be sold so that the owners can be looked after as they age?
But there are some pretty obvious questions and points that, unless they are made very clear, may blur the distinction between elderly care and NHS care:
At what point does one become elderly? If you need care when you are 70, is that elderly, even though today you’re likely to have at least another 20 years ahead of you? Is it elderly care when you are 60? What if, for some reason, you need that care at 45? Or 35? After all, you might have been left a house of good value. You can be a homeowner at any age.
And what if the care were for a relatively short but undefined term, say after an operation or some hospital treatment, or whatever? Maybe for 3 months, 6 months, a year?
Or what if it were a relatively young person with some disablement who had been cared for at home by parents all his or her lives, and these parents had now died leaving a substantial property? Long term care required for maybe 50 years?
Once you introduce a commercial insurance aspect into the deal you are putting the profitability of the company, salespeople’s bonuses and shareholders’ dividends above the interests of the clients.
Who will be the winner in any game like that?
And once again, if it depends on the value of the property, and there is a cut-off point, how will that value be adjudged? Who will do the valuing? Will people, as they age, stop making improvements to their homes in order to reduce their property’s value?
And for at least some people, what will be the point of buying a house and looking after it and its gardens? Why would they bother? People without their own property who have spent their money on holidays, parties, clothes, cars and high living instead will get their care free.
And will there be different classes of care dependent on house value?
Is this the thin end of the wedge? Once we have become accustomed to selling a property to pay for care needs, will people who have acquired wealth in any form have to pay for other kinds of care? A short stay in hospital? A new hip; radiotherapy? Where will it end? And what kind of treatment will be available to people who have nothing to sell, and no cash in the bank?
And does anyone trust insurance companies in the City of London? As the writer above says, it is a financial scandal waiting to happen but after Mrs May has given up kitten heels for slippers.
There will be, I’m sure, many questions that I’ve failed to ask. I’m sure you will prompt me.
One thing’s for sure though. There will be some people who won’t ever have to sell anything to be looked after in their old age. So that’s alright then.