Long Term Care in Italy Involves Ten Million People and Will DoubleFRANCESCO LONGO, FRANCESCO PETRACCA AND GIANMARCO CINELLI DEL CERGAS ESTIMATE THE COSTS CONNECTED TO THE LACK OF A UNIVERSAL AND UNITARY SYSTEM FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF NON SELFSUFFICIENCY IN AN ONGOING RESEARCH
In 2050, there will be 5 million non self-sufficient people in Italy. Today they are 2.8 million, of which 2.5 million are assisted at home. If we assume that each of these persons engages three more, including family members and carers, 10 million individuals are involved in long-term care.
In the face of such an enormous problem, the public sector offers limited support. “It is no wonder that in Italy we have one million caregivers, the largest professional category in the country, yet we lack a universal long-term care policy”, says Francesco Longo, Associate Professor of Public Management and member of the observatories of the Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management (CERGAS). Public fundings are scattered. Inps, the Italian institute of social security, spends 15 billion euros a year in carer’s allowances. Municipalities allocate half of their social spending, 4 billion euros, to non self-sufficient people. The public health system spends 11 billion.
We can do better. In a CERGAS research still underway, Francesco Longo, Francesco Petracca and Gianmario Cinelli propose to build a new legal entity committed to manage long-term care, as has happened in Germany. “We estimated the costs of the lack of a single and universal system: services related to non self-sufficiency subtract resources from other areas of welfare; the system is unfair and favors the rich; patients are badly assisted, so much so that statistics show that in Italy the elderly live longer, but sicker lives”.
The researchers calculated how much money would be needed to establish a system like the German one, in addition to the 30 billion euros spent on non self-sufficiency by Inps, municipalities and the public health system. This is 10 billion euros, which could be collected through mandatory employee contributions. “Long-term care in Italy is a wicked problem: it is too difficult to solve or to even tackle. We are looking for a brave policymaker who wants to put it on his agenda and solve it. It can be done over a five year period”.
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