Interesting new statistics: taxpayers are willing to pay more for aged care

Taxpayers are willing to pay more for a better quality aged care experience. Source: Pixabay

Interesting new statistics show that more than half of current taxpayers would be willing to pay an additional percentage of their income tax for better quality aged care.

The Medical Journal of Australia published a peer-reviewed study conducted by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Monday that found over 60 per cent of all current taxpayers are willing to pay an additional 1.4 per cent of their income tax to receive a satisfactory level of quality aged care and 3.1 per cent of their income to go to a high level of quality aged care.

Professor of Health Economics at Flinders University’s Caring Future Institute, Julie Ratcliffe said the increase in income tax may be required to meet the needs of older Australians.

“Modelling by the Commission indicates that a doubling of this expenditure base may be required in the short to medium term to meet the needs of Australia’s rising numbers of older people,” Ratcliffe said.

As the number of older Australians rise, so does the issue of the declining ratio of working age Australians over 85 years and older, which has currently dropped from 101:1 to 33:1 during a 40-year timespan. And it’s expected to drop even further to 15:1 by 2058.

Ratcliffe added that respondents with experience of aged care were more willing to pay an additional percentage of their income.

“Respondents with experience of aged care through a close family member were willing to pay more to guarantee universal access to satisfactory or high quality care compared with those without experience.”

“Similarly, younger people were also willing to pay slightly more than older people to ensure universal access to satisfactory or high quality care,” Ratcliffe further explained.

Unfortunately, despite best efforts, Ratcliffe and colleagues suggest that even if the income tax contribution is increased for age care purposes, it would still not be enough to sufficiently strengthen the aged care system.

“There will be an increasing need for additional pillars of financial support beyond the current system, comprising income tax contributions as the major financial pillar supplemented by means-tested personal co-contributions and voluntary self-funded contributions for extra services or supports,” they said.

What can we do?

Because the income tax contributions won’t be a major pillar in transforming the aged care system, the best thing we can all do is work together as a community and hope the cost of living stops being subsidised. The Grattan Institute released a report earlier this year, which suggests that a broad pool of care services should be split between personal and medical care, which helps older Australians pay for better quality aged care.

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