A slim majority of Americans (55%) say that government should be mostly responsible for paying for long-term care for older adults who need assistance in the future. But when asked who will be responsible for paying for this care in the future, only about half that share (28%) say the financial burden will fall on the government. Instead, about seven-in-ten predict that family members (35%) or older adults themselves (36%) will bear these costs.
Similar shares of most key demographic groups agree about who will pay the bills for long-term care in the future. But these groups often differ about who should be primarily responsible for the costs of this care. Two-thirds of blacks and Hispanics (67%) say government should be mostly responsible for paying for long-term care for older adults, while about half of whites (51%) agree. Similarly, two-thirds of adults ages 50 to 64 say government should be mostly responsible for this care compared with about half of all other age groups, including those 65 and older. In addition, two-thirds of Americans with family incomes under $30,000 look to government to cover the cost, compared with about half of those with higher incomes.
Democrats see a bigger role than Republicans for the government in paying for long-term elder care (66% vs. 40%). On the other hand, Republicans are about twice as likely as Democrats to believe older adults themselves should be primarily responsible for paying for their care (40% vs. 21%). Relatively few Democrats (11%) or Republicans (18%) say the responsibility should fall mainly to family members.