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

No comments: