At Arbitrary Constant there is some useful background reading about the Green and White Papers which were published by the previous government regarding changes to the funding of adult social care. It will indeed, by interesting to compare and contrast with the proposals set out on Monday.
The scare stories about the Dilnot report started emerging from the press over the weekend with the Observer reporting on a £35,000 cap on payments towards care while the The Times (£) write about a cap of up to 30% of the value of a property.
The very thought about paying for care at these levels seems to strike fear and anger in the heart of the property-owning middle classes and perish the thought that they might actually need to pay towards the cost of their care. Although it’s important to remember that social care costs can be potentially incurred at any point in someone’s life. It isn’t necessarily about ‘saving up’ till old age or insurance schemes at the age of 60. What if you need the services at the age of 55 or 25?
Meanwhile Community Care reports that there is expected to be a hostile public reaction to Dilnot. The article says
That was the warning today from housing and care provider Anchor, who found that 44% of Britons believed the state should fund all their care costs in a survey of over 2,000 people.
Which is the crux. No-one wants to pay for what they think they should be getting free. The payments into the ‘system’ and into ‘national insurance’ should cover care costs. The thing is, they don’t and they can’t.
Cost have escalated. It isn’t just about care home fees, home care packages and support plans delivered through personal budgets are increasing as people with higher care needs can remain at home for longer.
The sometimes seemingly arbitrary divide between health care needs (free) and social care needs (means-tested) can generate understandable anger as systems like the continuing healthcare assessments can be incredibly complicated and seemingly counter to common sense understandings of what ‘health’ care actually is.
There seems to be a proposal to separate out ‘hotel costs’ of the care home from ‘social care’ costs which will, I expect, lead to all sorts of interesting accounting mechanisms to ensure that the highest fees can be garnered beyond whatever system is implemented.
But I want to be hopeful. Dilnot is unlikely to be popular in ‘Daily Mail’ land, there are murmurings in ‘Guardian’ land too. Maybe we just need all parties to actually work together for the good of the whole at this point rather than worry about the cost in votes that any change in a system might incur.