A good argument for personal contributions to aged care services to be increased?
Late on Tuesday, Grant Thornton’s Principal & National Head of Health & Aged Care, Darrell Price, presented to LASA’s Ten Days on Congress on the topic of funding for the future.
He made a number of interesting points – including that only 50% of the 240,000 Australians in residential care today are supported residents.
If the other 120,000 were to increase the contribution to their own care, that would tip an extra $2.4 billion a year into the sector.
“Basket of measures” needed to fund future system
“We are all looking for a silver bullet for a funding model but I don’t believe there is one,” he said.
Instead, Darrell advocated for a “basket of measures” to fund Australia’s future aged care system, including additional taxpayer funding, workforce initiatives, and greater co-contributions.
Interestingly, he pointed to the superannuation system as a model that could be used to help people save for their care later in life – similar to Catholic Health Australia CEO Pat Garcia’s argument for health savings accounts from yesterday’s issue.
“Why can’t a portion be put aside for aged care?” he asked. “We need to seriously consider how we can utilise super.”
Aged care needs profits to attract investment
Darrell also called for the end of the argument about whether aged care providers should be allowed to make a profit.
He made the point that superannuation funds attract investment based on their ability to produce a return over time – so why not aged care?
“Why should an investor in aged care expect less?” he questioned. “We need to rethink the idea of profit as a dirty word.”
Until these design issues are dealt with – and a clear view of what the Australian community expects of their aged care services is developed – Darrell warned this funding issue will continue to haunt the sector for many Budget cycles to come.