Financing Long-term Care: The Role of Culture and Social Norms; Comment on “Financing Long-term Care: Lessons From Japan”

Document Type: Commentary

Authors

Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract

Based on the experiences of Japan and Germany, Ikegami argues that middle-income countries should introduce public long-term care insurance (LTCi) at an early stage, before benefits have expanded as a result of ad hoc policy decisions to win popular support. The experience of the Netherlands, however, shows that an early introduction of public LTCi may not prevent, but instead even facilitate later extensions of public coverage. We argue that social norms and cultural values about caring for the elderly might be the main driver of expansions of LTCi coverage. Furthermore, we posit that this expansion may reinforce the social norms supporting it. Hence, politicians and policy-makers should be aware of this possible self-reinforcing effect.

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