9 April 2012

Baby boomers, longevity, and health care

Life expectancy is going up, as better health care and technological advancements enable that to happen. The baby boomers are often blamed for rising health care costs, though even within the population of over 65s there seem to be different perceptions. It's not a subject that gets discussed in great detail. I imagine that those who are receiving great health care aren't going to share their secrets with those who don't.

One article I saw in the local newspaper briefly alluded to the cost of healthcare. Moorsel wrote that "the key talking points for taxpayers should be what share of total spending they think health care should consume and what other things--from education to social services-- they're prepared to see squeezed out by that cost and by how much." As it happens, the controversy about the extra $10 billion the F35s were going to cost came along at about the same time as this article (see MPs battle, 2012). Not being an expert on actual health costs, I responded in my own way, since discussion on health care seems to me to come along infrequently and such an opportunity should not be passed by. So I responded by taking the subject in a different direction, to one about *class* and *entitlement,* writing within the limiting word limit, as follows:

"A key point of discussion should be people's sense of entitlement to health care, as this is partly responsible for the rising cost, or as GVM (the author, Greg Moorsel) says, taxpayers say "they've paid into the system and expect to get it back." This kind of thinking is based on the false logic that working people pay taxes and thus are better citizens than those who don't.

In today's world (but also when women were homemakers), we have young people unemployed (thus not paying taxes) while increasingly more women team up with men in their dual-income families. And do they see themselves as entitled to more & better care than non-taxpayers? Read 'Men at work' . http://suemcpherson.blogspot.ca/2012/03/men-at-work-what-does-future-hold.html ." End

The Macleans article, from a month ago, was excellent at approaching the subject in a different manner, acknowledging that older people often bear the brunt of accusations of overusing the healthcare system. In reality, Belluz claims, every age group of the population is spending more on health care. What they don't say is that the ones who are spending the most probably are the middle classes - in whichever age group they belong.

In the piece about baby boomers "reinventing old age," wealth doesn't come into it, the author, Dr Alexandre Kalache, apparently assuming that all baby boomers are well off. What was good about it was the discussion, which included several different strands, some very positive, some more realistic about growing old in today's world. Even the 'Age Friendly' project, to do with making our cities - in this case London - a better place for its older citizens, came under fire in the Comments section, mainly for its intention to build the network using for its model the one they are familiar with - Children and Youth services. I'm sure Dr Kalache would be appalled to know that the Child/Youth Services model was the one being proposed here in London, and furthemore, that it was not being discussed with the older people attending the Task Force meeting, thus not enabling the baby boomers to reinvent themselves. The concept seemed to be simply slipped in, under the communications section, instead of being brought out into the open.

I have referred back to an earlier blog entry I wrote in 2010 (Survey: can Canadian baby-boomers survive our health-care system) written from the perspective of having what I consider to be inadequate treatment for an injury which affects me every day, in everything I do. See http://samcpherson.homestead.com/StoryofMyLife.html . Sometimes, it takes so little to make a difference to a person's life - a small surgical procedure, like pins, but I didn't have the option. Although I had an appointment to see the Orthopedic surgeon a few hours afterwards, on the advice of the Dr in Emerg, he made his decision based only on the xray.

Healthcare: Technology is a bigger cost driver than demography
By Julia Belluz
February 10, 2012

Health costs never get clear debate
By Greg Van Moorsel, QMI Agency
London Free Press, Comment
April 3, 2012

How the Baby Boomers Are Reinventing Old Age
By Dr. Alexandre Kalache
Huffington Post, The Blog
April 4, 2012

MPs battle over F-35 fighter jet costs
By Laura Payton
CBC News
Apr 4, 2012

Survey: can Canadian baby-boomers survive our health-care system?
By Sue McPherson
Sue's Views on the News
Aug 23, 2010

2 April 2012

Contraception and working women

What is Stephanie Pappas trying to say, in this bit about new research on an old topic - women and work? Too much left unspoken, not enough information on the study itself or on her own views, to make this anything but political manipulation on behalf of women's quest to have the pill paid for.

The longitudinal study undertaken by Martha Bailey and associates started in 1968 and continued throughout the 1990s, its participants having being born within a few years of the year I was (1946). Prior to the 60s, when no such pill was available, they suggest, women had to choose between either a career or marriage. Without the pill, they are suggesting, the risk of pregnancy was too great for women with partners to risk having a career.

But as time went on, the researchers claim, "With oral contraceptives, women no longer had to choose between investing in their careers and investing in a mate." As the pill became available in their area, more women would choose college and career as well as marriage.

I'm not sure about the logic behind these ideas, or how they relate to the experience of that cohort of women and this one today. When I read it, it seems to me that women researchers of today are interpreting the experience of twenty-year-olds in the 1960s according to their own model, instead of looking at it through the lens of society at the time. I'm not sure that many women back then looked at the world in terms of *choice,* a favourite word and key theme among liberal feminists and women in general today, but surely, not back then. Furthermore, the whole idea of the battle for 'the pill,' was one of women's right to use it, not as it has now become, the fight for the right to have someone else pay for it. "The pill’s availability likely altered norms and expectations about marriage and childbearing," Bailey has said. And work. And sex. There is a great deal that has been left unsaid, in the brief write-up here, and likely in the research itself, related to women's newfound personal freedom related to sexuality, both within and outside of marriage.

As discussed in the Comments section of this brief piece of news, there was something else going on at more or less the same time that the pill was being introduced into society (possibly through the efforts of radical feminists). Women in general were being encouraged to take their place alongside men in the workplace, in the quest for 'equality, as expounded by liberal feminists'. The influence of this latter ideology and women's movement was not mentioned in the article about women's wages and the pill, but it was a widespread effort by women, begun in the years after women in droves were sent back to the kitchen, so to speak, by men after they returned from the war in the early 40s. During the war, women had discovered how well they could do the work men did, in factories, farm fields, and many other areas that had traditionally been 'men's work,' and how much they enjoyed it, and enjoyed the independence and money. But after the war ended, they were no longer needed.

A second major factor of this subject of contraception and work is its connection to the debate about insurance coverage of contraception, for working women and college students, mainly (as I have seen in the news) and lastly, among women living in poverty. Many comments ensued from this awareness, on Comments online. I found it odd that some readers would suggest that if the insurance wouldn't pay for the pill for contraceptive purposes, that the working woman would stubbornly continue to have unprotected sex and risk pregnancy rather than pay for it out of her wages. This issue is not only a mattter of concern to women who are employed, and should be addressed as a concern for all women. Otherwise, some women will lose out, through inability to pay, and will be at risk.

The third major item in this piece is the news that, of the one-third increase in wages among women, two-thirds came from greater workplace experience, and more importantly for what I am to say next, one-third of the increase was a result of "women gaining more education and from choosing more lucrative, traditionally male, fields." In response to that, I can say that there is so much left out, so much more to discuss than how well women are doing at work. If women are taking the places that had traditionally been reserved for men, then what do you suppose all the men are doing, who are perfectly capable of doing the job?

If you haven't heard of the Occupy movement, then I suggest you open up your mind to what's going on in society. And if you are ready to seek solutions to the inquality brought about by feminism, then read my blog (see relevant entries below). Not only do we need to turn towards a society where there is more acceptance of one another's abilities, but within relationships also. Rather than the middle class, educated female joining forces with the middle class male she considers as being in her class (based on money and access to resources), forming what we now have a glut of - the dual-career, dual-income family - we need a variety of approaches to making up the workforce and the families within society. The problem is, it's the influential dual career couples who hold the power to make change, and who can at times seem to be the most reluctant to change.

Birth-Control Pill Helped Boost Women's Wages, New Study Shows 
By Stephanie Pappas
LiveScience Huffington Post
Mar 29, 2012

The Economic Impact of the Pill
By Annie Lowrey
NY Times
March 6, 2012

Feminism's legacy: contributing towards social inequality 
By Sue McPherson
Sue's Views on the News
5 February, 2012

Men at work: what does the future hold?
By Sue McPherson
Sue's Views on the News
March 18, 2012

The Occupy Movement: UWO's Klatt and Hammond, and other perspectives
By Sue McPherson
Sue's Views on the News
Dec 10, 2011

What Justin Bieber and Gold Diggers Can Teach Us About Feminism
By Sue McPherson

Sue's Views on the News
Nov 19, 2011