Labour has said it will consider abolishing means-testing for social care if the party wins the next general election.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham instead reopened the debate surrounding a so-called 'death tax', by suggesting a compulsory levy on estates could be one way to fund social care in the future.
In a speech to the King's Fund thinktank, Mr Burnham reiterated his party's calls for social care to be made free in the same way as NHS treatment, by merging its budget with that of healthcare.
Under these plans, the health and wellbeing boards that are to be set up in April would control the commissioning of services. As a result, around £60 billion of NHS funding would transfer to local governments.
Mr Burnham said: "Commissioning acute trusts in this way could change the terms of debate about hospitals at a stroke."
However, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said this proposal would remove power from the healthcare professionals who know patients best and "puts it in the hands of local politicians".
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