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Catholic Health wants super held for aged care

Catholic Health Australia has called for a superannuation-style compulsory saving scheme for people to pay for their aged care.

The body has also proposed a Medicare "grey card" that would allow the elderly to jump waiting lists for elective surgery.

The Age reports that CEO Francis Sullivan told the parliamentary inquiry into aged care yesterday that the savings scheme would not allow people to touch their money for any reason but to pay for aged care.

"The problem with superannuation is that most people have spent it by the time they need aged care," he said.

Australia urgently needs a national aged care system because access to nursing homes was now a "hit-and-miss" affair, Mr Sullivan said.

Nursing homes are increasingly resorting to a "user pays" solution to falling subsidies. "In the long run, this will discriminate against people on meagre incomes and with modest assets," he said.

The Commonwealth subsidises aged care beds in nursing homes and some home care. According to CHA's research, the subsidy was short by $248 million last year, leaving nursing home residents to make up the difference.

Mr Sullivan also floated the idea of increasing the GST to pay for aged care. He admitted the idea was "a bit radical" and an unlikely prospect. Liberal MP and committee member Tony Smith said the GST proposal was "not going to happen".

Catholic Health Australia

Catholic Health Australia | Research and Policy Statements
Senate Inquiry into long-term strategies to address the ageing of the Australian population over the next 40 years | CHA sumbission | Media Alert: Catholic Health Australia to give evidence at public hearing for ageing inquiry - Wednesday 17 September 2003 - Canberra
Catholic Health seeks Medicare 'Grey Card' for older Australians (16/10/01)

18 Sep 2003