LETTERS : National insurance? I've got it

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The Independent Online
GOOD news for Stephen Castle ("Ministers to act on high care fees", 22 January): the "compulsory insurance scheme" that he mentions already exists. It is called the National Health Service. It is one of several good measures drawn up by Churchill 's wartime coalition government, in the spirit of Lloyd George's "country fit for heroes", and already covers us "from cradle to grave". When it became law in 1946 John Major was aged three and Virginia Bottomley minus two; but many of us have paid our c ontributions all these years in good faith, after a war in which many of us, but neither of them, underwent many hardships.

The idea that a gap in its cover now exists, which we must insure against, is false, unless the Government first creates that gap. Equally unacceptable is the idea that elderly people should sell their homes to pay those bills until they have just £8,000left.

Mr Major asks "Is it likely that I would take away the security of mind that was of such value to my parents? I tell you: not while I live and breathe will I take that away". Fine words; but unless he does something about it, his only honest answer is "yes".

Alan Stripp Cambridge