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Does Australia need a Medicare-style levy to fund aged care?

  • April 20 2021
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Does Australia need a Medicare-style levy to fund aged care?

By Cameron Micallef
April 20 2021

The government is being urged to consider a 1 per cent aged care levy to help pay for the underfunded sector following the release of the aged care royal commission findings. 

Does Australia need a Medicare-style levy to fund aged care?

Does Australia need a Medicare-style levy to fund aged care?

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  • April 20 2021
  • Share

The government is being urged to consider a 1 per cent aged care levy to help pay for the underfunded sector following the release of the aged care royal commission findings. 

Does Australia need a Medicare-style levy to fund aged care?

The aged care royal commission last month found a decades-long string of reports and inquiries exposing horrific abuse, neglect and systemic failures, and cementing the need for a complete overhaul. 

A new report released by the Grattan Institute suggests that Australia would need to spend around $10 billion a year to fix the broken sector. 

“The aged care system is a stain on Australians’ conscience,” said lead author and Grattan Health and Aged Care Program director Stephen Duckett.

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“None of us want to end up in the present shameful system. Many of us feel guilty if we decide to pack our elderly mum or dad off to care.”

In order to fix the system, the Grattan Institute recommends universal funding of care costs, modelled on Medicare.

This, the unstitute argued, would provide universal insurance for people who have high care needs, and would mean people would not need to worry about how they are going to fund their possible care needs in older age.

Properly administered, the extra money could transform the aged care system: clearing the 100,000-long waiting list for adequate home care, providing higher-level care at home for longer, employing at least 70,000 more aged care workers, and lifting the amount of care per person and ensuring a qualified nurse is on site 24/7 in all residential care homes.

However, with an ageing population, the institute is pushing for a new 1 per cent levy to raise the $10 billion that is required.

According to Grattan, more of the value of the family home should be included in the age pension assets test, and superannuation earnings in retirement – currently untaxed for people with superannuation balances of less than $1.6 million – should be taxed at 15 per cent, the same as superannuation earnings before retirement.

“Surveys consistently show that Australians are willing to pay more tax to fix aged care,” Dr Duckett said.

“The time to act is now. The aged care royal commission report leaves the government with nowhere to hide. This Grattan report shows how a better funded and designed aged care system would protect the rights, uphold the dignity, and celebrate the contribution of older Australians.”

Does Australia need a Medicare-style levy to fund aged care?
Does Australia need a Medicare-style levy to fund aged care?
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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