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government policy on paying for healthcare

(56 Posts)
Euny Wed 11-Jul-12 10:15:18

the way i see this new policy it that the people who have worked all their working life to buy a home are paying for this new policy , while the people who live in rented homes and who have either smoked or drunk their way through life will not pay anything..
Tis just like the unfair council tax.
I am a widow of 85 living alone and pay more tax and water rates that familes down the road who have multiple cars on their drives...
This rubbish governmet that we have..{ whoever is in } will only look after themselves because they don't live in the real world

Annobel Wed 11-Jul-12 10:44:53

If I go into a home, I will have no use for my house. My sons have told me that they are happy to stand on their own feet. If my house is sold to pay for my care, why not?
'Unfair council tax'? I agree that there would be fairer methods of local taxation such as a local income tax, but let's not go into that now. People living in rented accommodation also pay council tax. If they are on a low income, they can claim council tax benefit, as can owner-occupiers who are on a low income. If you think you qualify, ring up the finance people at your local council or ask Age UK or CAB for advice. Presumably you already have the single occupancy discount.
As for water rates, if you think you are paying too much, your water company will gladly fit a meter for you so that you pay only for what you use. I was quids in when I was living by myself in a four-bed house and got a water meter.

Jacey Wed 11-Jul-12 10:52:56

Yes Euny I also think that those of us who have worked hard, saved what we could for our retirement are the ones who are being penalised angry
But there are also those who've worked hard, not been able to save but have paid their dues too ...into the system for their old age.
Then there's that group who've always lived 'high on the hog' and expect the state support them too once they've retired ...but who would also have contributed to funding system.
Plus the group who have always relied on the state for everything and plan to continue to do so!!

However ...there are the 50 shades of grey between each and every group it shouldn't necessarily be a one size fits all sort of policy ...but neither should those of us who went without to fund our retirement smile

maxgran Wed 11-Jul-12 12:11:09

I know people who have always lived in rented homes because they could never get a mortgage. They worked all their lives and they contributed.
No one forces you to buy a house, you can rent like other people have to or choose to do. Once you make your choice you shouldn't really start resenting what others have done.
Having said that,......... I don't think anyone should have to pay for care in their old age. Our society should look after the elderly whatever their circumstances.

susiecb Wed 11-Jul-12 12:15:40

We were told NHS care was cradle to the grave - how come that is only true in Scotland? This policy is a smoke screen and people dont realise they dont have to go into a home if they dont want to. They may have to pay for some care at home but nothing like on the scale of a care home fees. Bloody scandal money wasted on farting around with House of Lords, MPs expenses and pensions which are not being affected like everyone elses, endless tinkering with the NHS and public services I could drone on and on........ and usually do.angry

POGS Wed 11-Jul-12 12:43:08


Barrow Wed 11-Jul-12 12:47:06

Annobel is mistaken - council tax relief is based on savings not income. I have savings over the threshold but these are invested to give me an income. If the relief was based on income I could get help, as it is based on savings I can't even though I need those savings to produce sufficient income for me to survive.

I have no problem with having to sell my house to pay for care later in my life as I have no family to leave it to anyway, but I can understand people wanting to leave something for their children. Although my plan is when I start to become unable to look after myself to find a way to end my life with some dignity and on my terms.

AlisonMA Wed 11-Jul-12 12:47:49

maxgran I take your point that no one has to buy a house and that we could all choose to rent but why should those of us who did buy houses subsidise those who chose not to?

We didn't complain about paying for everyone's education when our children were privately educated or for the NHS when we had private medical insurance but I object to being penalised for going without in order to do so! I think we have been far more frugal than most people in order to do the things we wanted to for our children and now we have pensions and a house. Why should that mean that we have to pay for care when many others have been profligate when they could have had what we had?

We were not born with any advantages, my husband comes from a council house with a mother who took in menial home work and a father who was a bus driver. We never had any help at all so everything we have we worked very hard for and went without for. Much of the time we both worked very long hours in demanding jobs and deserve a comfortable retirement.

We have not been fortunate, we studied and worked for all we have, most people could do the same if they were motivated. I am quite happy to subsidise the sick and the genuinly unfortunate but I don't think there are anywhere near as many as are currently being subsidised.

Rant over.

POGS Wed 11-Jul-12 13:05:51

I am in two minds in this matter and I am going to throw something into the mix that I know will get me a royal tongue wagging from some G.N.'s. No change there then.

My father is 93, he is financially sound thanks to government funding. He is on guaranteed pension credit, gets £300 a year fuel allowance and £25 a week severe weather payment. He has free prescriptions and his doctor and nurses are wonderful. He gets free T.V. licence and his home care package is totally covered by attendance allowance funding. He does own his own bungalow.

Now my dilemma is as follows, if he needs to go into a home at some stage should the tax payer who is finding their own finances a burden have to carry on paying.

Why do we feel the government has to provide for every part of our life? We no longer have the family ties of years gone by. Our parents, willingly, looked after their own parents and some families still do but this is not the norm sadly anymore. Why do we expect to make the taxpayer fund our latter years so that family can be releived of any responsibility and have financial reward for doing just that by selling our homes after we have gone.

I know we have all paid our taxes, I know our children live away from us, I know there are health problems that make it impossible to look after someone. In the latter case I feel more help could be provided by government but should it not be the family who has to provide for their own kin if it is not. I am a total hypocrite when I say I hope I don't have to loose financially if he goes into care but at what point do I have the right to not accept it is my responsibilty not the government.

AlisonMA Wed 11-Jul-12 13:09:51

POGS why did your father pay National Insurance if it wasn't for just such a case? If you buy any other insurance you expect it to pay out according to the policy, why do people feel differently about NI?

Anagram Wed 11-Jul-12 13:14:24

Part of the problem is that successive governments did not set up a proper NI fund, they just added payments to the government spending pot, so although we think of it as being 'insurance', they don't.

harrigran Wed 11-Jul-12 13:22:24

Cradle to grave care by NHS was put in place at a time when it was possible. There are very expensive procedures today that were not available then. IVF, heart transplants or any other transplants. People with serious conditions live longer and require expensive drug regimes.

Greatnan Wed 11-Jul-12 13:23:55

Haven't NI contributions always been used to pay pensions for existing pensioners (most of whom would not have been able to save during the war years) - they did not go into a pot to pay for future pensions.
There are many old people who have never had the chance to save because they always had a job that just about met their normal living expenses, not because they smoked or drank every penny. Some may have had long term ill health. I don't mind my taxes (which I still pay on my UK government pensions) being used to give them any care they need. I think I have been very fortunate to have been able to study and have good careers (and good health).

Maniac Wed 11-Jul-12 15:14:14

Barrow I'm it the same boat -would be eligible for council tax relief if based on my income,but because of savings(includes ISAs etc) I'm just over the threshold.
I want to stay in my own home as long as possible.I dread the thoughts of a care home.When unable to care for myself would also consider ending my life with dignity on my terms

maxgran Thu 12-Jul-12 11:29:22


My point was - that despite some peoples best efforts - they have never been able to buy a house!
Not all people who rent are feckless.

I would say you HAVE been fortunate. Despite not coming from an advantaged background,you have had the ability to work hard, you have been able to plan ahead and the desire to 'better' yourself. Some people stay stuck and never realise that they can achieve more.
I don't understand why people do not count their blessings instead of looking at the negatives of their situation.

We have to pay for care for others because we live in a society that is set up to do so. Its your choice to have private health care and private education.. and once again - not everyone can afford that,.. so again- I think you are fortunate, even though you worked hard for it !

AlisonMA Thu 12-Jul-12 12:03:27

Max let me quote you one of our situations: at the age of 49 DH was made redundant and we spent a long time trying to get him another job. It was before email so my kind boss let me stay over at work and fax DH's CV to any company I could think of, whether or not they were advertising. I had to use all sorts of tactics to keep DH going when he was in the depths of despair but finally we got there. We had to move to the London area for the new job which meant I had to give up my lovely job and we had to leave all our friends. We also lost money on the sale of our house and had to move into a much smaller one because of the price differential. At this point we took most of DH's pension to pay for the school fees. We were out socially and I was told that it was all right for me because I was strong minded but the person who I was speaking to who had also been made redundant and was a lot younger was not strong minded so couldn't be expected to find another job!

If we have been fortunate, we made that ourselves, there was no luck involved.

Yes, we do count our blessings and as I said before, we are more than happy to contribute to those who are unfortunate but not to the feckless or the lazy.

It would have been so easy to just give up and stay where all our friends and some family were but we didn't and we were not prepared to live off the state.

This is just one example of the things we have faced but we always just get on with it.

Lilygran Thu 12-Jul-12 12:32:23

This is also being discussed in the 'For Newsnight' thread. One problem is that our NI contributions aren't used for health care, benefits and social services. They probably wouldn't cover it anyway! Lots of people don't pay any NI but are entitled to health care. Pretending that you qualify for benefits on the basis of your contributions is a load of old rubbish and simply means we have a two or three tier system. Like a lot of women, I made erratic contributions over a period of years because of having and bringing up children, working abroad, working in menial part-time jobs which means I don't get a full pension. If I'd never paid NI I would still get some pension. NI is just another tax!

JessM Thu 12-Jul-12 12:41:27

Trouble is that life is not fair, and it never can be fair. One person is born into a third world slum and another to a family of millionaires. We are not, in the grand scheme of things, entitled to anything.
One person grafts all their life in a town where property prices have not risen much and the other grafts just as hard in London. The person in London has accumulated far more capital in their house than the other one. That's not "fair".
This problematic area is nothing to do with NHS. That is still free. It is people who are not sick but are elderly, frail and disabled and can't look after themselves. The number is set to rise along with increasing costs to the NHS and to the social care system, which currently seems to be not at all bad, from our experience with MIL. (who grafted, struggled and had any amount of bad luck including husband dying young and terrible health herself, both of which limited her income and good luck with her children who are fantastic to her)
We would all love to think we could leave money to our children - specially those of us whose children have suffered 2 major recessions and don't have houses themselves - neither of mine do, despite being 33 and 41.
But we don't have a right to hang onto houses so that we can pass wealth on, do we. It's a huge luxury if we can. The rights and wrongs of the choices other people have made are not the issue.
What it comes down to it this:
Do we have a right to expect that the taxes of the younger generations, those that don't have their own houses, not ever any hope of having a house, should subsidise our wish to pass on wealth to our children?

missus Thu 12-Jul-12 18:46:13

in the discussions about proposals it is being suggested that NI charged to pensioners would cover the cost of their changes. This amounts to around £100 per month which would decrease the state pension for £5200 per year down to £4200 per year. If you are living in rented accommodation even if it is one room, it is below starvation levels. For those not in rented accommodation you may find you will need to take in a lodger. If you have a small pension, potentially it would be negated making your income £5200 per year.

The life expectancy is now increased to 75 years old and the estima The estimate tes are that the average number of people who go in to care is two years. This means that for 73 years the person has been self fundded and subject to recessions and redundancies, have paid NI and income for 40-50 years. If the government has known about this boom in population and increase in life expectancy for 70 years and they have as we have all heard of discussions about it for many years, why haven't they set aside the NI and income tax being paid for the then much larger working populaton to cover their care costs - we were lead to believe that was what it was designed for.

If it is known that the expectancy is going to increase, why hasn't building taken place before crisis point? If it is known that people will have to work longer why are the older workers being demonised? The young do need support to get on to the work platform but they will get old too - the children of the last of the baby boomers are almost old enough to be grand parents themselves. - so either, the older live on welfare or employers need to be encouraged to have a more positive attitude to older workers too and create new options. If the older workers vacate the jobs that are more taxing and receive guidance about moving across to a different career or profession. To create this ethic now paves the way for the next generation from the boomers, the first of which are not far away from retirement even though the finish post keeps moving further away.

If a pensioner can only work 10 hours per week for health reasons to supplement their £5200 state pension, then all that they earn is deducted on NI alone.

If taxes are collected to cover the costs of care, there needs to be assurances that any surplus is put towards the costs of care as most of the taxes paid in by the current retired appears to have been used up in welfare elsewhere.

The estimated cost of care is being quoted as 8 billion. We give away 8 billion on foreign aid and have just committed with a group of other countries to provide 10 billion in aid to one specific country separate to that.

It doesn't seem fair that a person only keeps their house if they go in to care for free in order that the family can inherit it - the tax payer is technically funding the family. The family and the elderly person have a choice - either they can offer to care for the person thereby retaining their inheritance or choose not to and let it go. The elderly person may not wish for their family to care for him/her and should be under no pressure. It would be advisable for local councils, separate to GP practices to offer support in caring as their are no books to guide on care. There are plenty of books on childcare but nothing about what happens with growing older and how to deal with it. The carer could do with the equivalent of a health visitor, support worker and the welfare of both needs support. It would be nice to think that all families would help to care for the one older person in the household or familywho is more frail but the reality is that it either the spouse or just one sibling. It would be helpful if the local council were more supportive in providing advice on services and options to gain support even if it is paid for. For example, a support worker could train the carer how to do online shopping, locate a befriender who could stay with the frail person for a couple of hours occasionally so that the carer could attend their own medical appointments, get hair cuts etc. All that the council/local authority needs to do in a lot of cases is create new links in the carers network to employ and engage services to manage their lives without expense to their pot.

missus Thu 12-Jul-12 18:52:47

** without expese to their pot meaning that the council do not necessarily have to foot the bill in engaging practical services to a person at home but the least they can do is sign post the way. Most people do not expect handouts

Anagram Thu 12-Jul-12 18:54:11

I'm not sure where your figures for NI have come from, missus. Are you saying that if a pensioner works for 10 hours a week, (say at £7 per hour), they'll have to pay £70 NI per week? confused

Lilygran Thu 12-Jul-12 20:34:57

You don't pay NI if you are drawing your pension, even if you work in paid employment.

Charlotta Thu 12-Jul-12 20:44:58

It must be clear to all that NI contributions have not been enough for everything which has to be paid for especially the NHS. If you have bought your own house then there is nothing against this property being used to keep you in your old age. The house could be let out to rent.

Most people want to leave it to their children and I think this may be a thing of the past. There has to be a new way of thinking about old age and care. The children will have to buy their own houses or rent.
Nobody ows us a living. We have paid taxes but have had our children educated, motorways built, rubbish seen to and then we have the police and the law courts. That is called a functioning society and that is what we have paid for. It is not perfect but it is far better than most people in the world have.

Bags Fri 13-Jul-12 06:07:35

That sounds sensible to me, and appreciative of our relative good fortune in this country, charlotta. Thank you.

JessM Fri 13-Jul-12 06:46:29

I am inclined to agree Charlotta but I think this is the hot potato that the Tories (and other parties) don't want to handle. So they keep, as someone said, kicking the can down the road.
If in ten or twenty or thirty years time we find ourselves needing care and the country is booming, then taxes will probably fund that care. If the economy is in poor shape then things will be tight. We should remember the country is currently massively in debt (like we were at the end of the second world war!) as a result of the banking crisis - and the drop in tax take that that caused.