Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fair deal update

Nursing home scheme set to get green light
21 September 2008 Sunday Business Post
By Niamh Connolly
The Attorney General is set to sanction the Fair Deal Nursing Home Scheme proposed by Minister for Health Mary Harney.Legislation to set up the scheme is to be advanced in the current Dáil session that starts this week.The Fair Deal scheme, which was unveiled in December 2006,was to be introduced last January, but was delayed due to legislative difficulties.Several well-placed sources told The Sunday Business Post that the Attorney General had already given the green light to the legislative proposals.A spokesman for the health minister said the AG and the minister had worked intensively on the legislation over the summer, and that ‘‘work is near completion. We hope to publish the bill shortly’’.Under the Fair Deal scheme, those in need of nursing home care would pay 80 per cent of their disposable income towards the costs, and could be charged up to 15 per cent of the value of their home and assets after death, while the state would pay the balance.Some €110 million had been earmarked for the scheme, but €85 million was clawed back into government coffers last July, due to delays in its introduction.The cabinet approved the bill at its final meeting at the end of July, but minister of state Máire Hoctor said it would proceed next year, after it was ‘‘put on a robust legal footing’’ by the AG’s office and enacted by the Oireachtas.She promised a Dáil debate and conferral with the social partners as soon as the bill was published.



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