Why you can’t trust the government to look after you in retirement

We’ve all read the horror stories, predictions of how Social Security will run out of money, forecasts of inflation eroding the value of one’s pension, and so on.  However, many blithely assume that government-funded medical insurance for the older generation is sacrosanct, a promise no politician would dare to break for fear of an electoral backlash.

Not so fast.  A British politician has just put his foot down.

Ministers have a “moral duty” to introduce a cap on costs of care for the elderly, a former Government advisor has said – suggesting it was “silly” to suggest reforms were unaffordable.

Sir Andrew Dilnot, who led a cross-party commission on social care, spoke out following political rows between the Cabinet about a long-delayed green paper on the matter.

Plans to tackle the issue nearly cost the Tories the last election, with proposed measures branded a “dementia tax”.

Theresa May has said a social care green paper, due within weeks, should introduce a cap on costs for any individual.

But last week the Health Secretary wrote to the Prime Minister saying he was concerned that a limit of £100,000 [about US $132,000] could cost £3.4 bn [about US $4.48 bn] and mean significant tax rises.

Matt Hancock also highlighted Treasury concerns about a new system of insurance, which would see money automatically docked from monthly wage packets, to pay for care in later life, could hit pay packets too hard.

Sir Andrew yesterday urged ministers to press ahead with changes, almost eight years after his commission recommended a cap on costs.
He told The Telegraph: “There is a moral duty; we are letting people down in social care.

“I think we need to pool the risk and that means putting a cap in place.”

. . .

Under England’s care system, those in residential care face losing all savings and assets – including the value of their house – down to their last £23,500 [about US $31,000].

There’s more at the link.

That’s an unusually honest assessment from a politician.  He’s saying publicly that the cost of medical care for the elderly – including nursing home care, home health services, etc. – has become unaffordable.  The government doesn’t get enough tax revenue to pay for it.

The situation is, of course, much the same in these United States.  We use Medicare almost without a second thought, not caring how much it costs . . . but sooner or later, those costs are going to spiral out of reach.  Wikipedia provides this graph illustrating how costs have risen over the past couple of decades (click the image for a larger view):

The cost crunch currently being experienced in the UK is just as bad here, if not worse – and the outcome is likely to be a limit on how much government will spend on each individual.  Not a comforting thought for those nearing that limit . . .



  1. Graphs of cost over long periods of time are meaningless as they must be pegged to inflation, average salary, etc. Just about everything costs more as time progresses. So long as wages keep up pace that is normal. Medical costs outstripping wage growth is the real issue.

  2. Death panels and putting bureaucrats in charge of "what you are worth to society" is the logical conclusion of state-run healthcare, ObamaCare, medicare for all, or whatever you want to call it. The government couldn't even put up an ObamaCare website for a year or so, and when they did it cost more than the wall along the Mexican Border will cost.

    I pay for healthcare out of pocket because I want to manage my own situation. Not everyone can do that, primarily because government has jacked up the cost of healthcare through the institution of costly and unnecessary regulation and through Medicare. Allowing the market and competition to dictate costs is the proper way to handle it. But the socialists want to sell free cheese.

    The VA is an example of what the donkeys want to force on us. Some VA offices are reportedly good. Others are managed by death panels. I went to the VA in Long Beach, CA, and it was not an example of somewhere you'd want to end up. It motivated me to seek my OWN solution.

  3. +1 on LL's comment. Glad I'm an old fart, but I DO worry about what my grandchildren are going to face… sigh

  4. If you believe, why would you fight to stay on earth?

    Just who the f**k signed me up to pay for preternal death care for you?

    The end of life is a giant part of life and why are people picking my pocket to dodge it?

  5. Unless you are very rich, the Healthcare Industry now gets most of the value of your estate when you die. IIRC, they are working hard to charge your kids with all associated costs that currently don't get covered. They expect to put direct relatives in debt for your last months and days. You can also expect laws that mandate dying in hospital, as that is one of the biggest money extractions they have.

  6. “If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population!”
    Some old white dude.

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