07 January 2011

Medicare – Make Way for the Baby Boomers

When you read this, I think you will decide like I did that their title of the article is a misnomer. After reading the article, it is basically laying out the problems that Medicare will be facing with the baby boomers.

The first of them will turn 65 this year and will put a strain on an already overburdened Medicare system. It is expected the baby boomers will have more health problems and more expectations than their parents and generations before them.

Much of the problems facing our new seniors will be the lack of geriatricians and primary care physicians. They need to spend more time with patients and they get the least amount of reimbursement. This is the reason that almost no one is is going into geriatrics today.

According to the American Geriatrics Society, there are now 7029 board certified geriatricians in the United States. With the increasing elderly population the ratio is expected to double to one geriatrician per 5549 seniors by 2030. And with the primary care physicians also experiencing a shortage, the problems are only going to increase for the elderly.

Then it is very important to note that 40 percent of the physicians are approaching retirement. With many physicians, especially in small private practices, not taking Medicare patients because it is not economical for them, where is the approximately 75 million baby boomers going to turn for medical care?

Now comes the rub – the baby boomers, as a group, have tremendous political clout, think it is in their best interest to beef up the medical system, and want things addressed as they move into this group.

We will definitely have some conflicts as Medicare is striving to reduce spending and forcing congress to overrule their actions on a reoccurring basis. With the baby boomers expecting the medical care to be there for them, you can bet that the dwindling support by the smaller generations behind them are going to resist being burdened by their medical needs.

No wonder the current legislation is becoming so contentious and they want more control in the hands of the government. This is only speculation, but I have a feeling that legal euthanasia is going to be a hotly debated topic in the next ten to twenty years.

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