Will Boomers Bankrupt Our Health Care System? Myths and Facts | Health Beat by Maggie Mahar
Well worth reading, with some great Uwe Reinhardt graphics!
When the three-day conference ended yesterday, it also was apparent that developed countries share many of the same problems. One that stands out is the fact that our populations are aging. Each country faces the same question: how will a shrinking workforce possibly pay for the medicine their nations’ retirees will need?
This brings me to Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt’s speech on the very first day of the conference. The only American to speak at WHCCE, Reinhardt focused on what he called “the folklore that people bring to the health care policy table.” By nature an iconoclast, Reinhardt spent the next 20 minutes shattering some of the myths that have become part of the received wisdom among policy-makers.
Begin with the notion that an aging population is a major factor driving health care inflation. In the U.S. this is accepted as a justification for why the nation’s health care bill now equals more than $2 trillion dollars—and why we must expect it to climb ever higher.
Bad news is often more gripping than good news, and “if you want to be a popular speaker you need to feed the paranoia of your audience,” Reinhardt observed, pointing to the first slide of his Power Point presentation—a chart illustrating just how quickly we can expect a horde of wrinkly boomers to take over the nation. Some stooped and shriveled, others proudly bloated, these former members of the Pepsi generation will be far more demanding, we’re told, than the World War II veterans who preceded them.Sphere: Related Content