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Govt fails to keep asset test promise

Dr Lynda Scott MP
National Health Spokesperson

20th February 2004

Govt fails to keep asset test promise

The Government's new bill on income and asset testing in aged-care is a pale shadow of their initial promise. Even worse the bill puts major restrictions on the aged care industry, says National's Health spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"The Government has tried to con people by claiming the bill removes income and asset testing. It does not. The full regime remains in place for those over 65 years. It only raises the threshold of assets that can be kept.

"Labour criticised National severely for similar changes in the 1990s which they said failed to get rid of the whole regime, yet now they are doing the same. The $10,000 adjustment per year will barely keep up with increases in housing prices. It will not remove asset testing.

"The Social Security (Long term residential care) Amendment Bill also sets a maximum limit of $636 a week that an individual can contribute for any type of aged care. This may take away the right to pay more for extra care, if that is what patients want.

"What will happen to Homes that are already charging more? What will happen to Homes in expensive areas? Under this bill it would seem patients no longer have choice.

"One size does not fit all. This new law removes choice for older people and could be a massive blow to the aged-care industry, which continues to strive for excellence in aged care," said Dr Scott.

Ends

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