Major changes are proposed for the financing and regulation of the nursing home sector in Ireland. For the first time the payment of public subvention is to be related explicitly to the means and dependency of old people. More detailed proposals have, however, yet to be worked out. This paper reviews the proposed developments and makes concrete recommendations with respect to the means testing of income and assets. The issue of consumer sovereignty is also considered. Finally, the necessity for a co-ordinated and integrated policy with respect to the financing, regulation and organisation of public and private care is stressed, particularly as a means of improving the quality of service provision.