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Why not have a health lottery?

June 20, 2013

Dear Sir,

One of the immediate problems that arise is how are we going to afford and finance “extended care” for the elderly? This is a vital question that has loomed on the horizon for some time, but now it has to be faced with practicality, and can no longer be put on the back burner, as a potential nightmare will become a reality.

For the sons and daughters and the families that have to face this problem, the sacrifices that have to be made are beyond comprehension. Some one has to stay at home with the loved ones every day, who is it to be?

Perhaps the carer will have to give up their job, which will mean a reduction in income. Perhaps there are children in the home so they have to double up in order to create a private room for the patient. Perhaps there is financial hardship with the extras that have to be provided. One could go on and on, but the vital problem that must be faced by the Government or by some kind of legislation whereby we all contribute, has to be dealt with now. For example, if you applied for help for your loved one today what kind of response do you think you would get or hope for?

There are not enough staff to cover all the needs on Government’s plate right now. There is not enough available accommodations to house the number of people in need today, and if there were, the funds to deal with this mammoth problem would have to be found. Now, here is the meaning and point of this letter. We talk today at meetings we frequent “let us adjourn and consider the matter.” “Let us form a committee and see what we can come up with.” “Let us think about it and meet next month!” I was on the Drug Board at Admiralty House over 30 years ago and we did all of the above and look where our drug problem is today. We just act now and come up with a financial solution that can be enacted as soon as possible, and by that I mean a matter of months.

I am suggesting a lottery, not a gambling lottery, whereby the winner picks up funds, I am suggesting a “Health Lottery” whereby every man, woman and child subscribes to a health fund where we all contribute to our future care. There would have to be a headcount. The amount? I leave that to the accountants, but it could be a monthly draw, whereby if you win the lucky ticket you get your extended charges paid for life, or if you were wealthy, you could donate your good luck to some worthy recipient. This would be an ongoing lottery that in time would accumulate a great deal of money, it will take time, but it is better to start rather than not to start at all.

There is some kind of mystical meaning attached to the word lottery. As I suggested this idea at a meeting there was a pregnant silence and I knew right then and there that it would take a lot of persuading, but it should be done.

With this fund accumulating over time and carefully invested, financial help could and would be available. With this extra money, nurses, aids and helpers could be recruited to relieve the family. Beds and accommodation could also be made available for the elderly who are needing extended care.

If we all get together we will be able to supply the necessary funds to give the elderly the care they will need and deserve for future generations to come. Ireland has known this for years.



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Published July 27, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm)

Why not have a health lottery?

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