A Thought on Future Medical CarePosted: August 26, 2012
With all the great hand wringing about future medical care in this country…from those that see Medicare for all as the best (certainly that would be the cheapest…no overhead for sales and marketing, no profit…and yes, they characterize it differently, but non-profits have ‘profits’ and big bonuses for the upper management) or those who want Medicare privatized in the future (vastly more profits due to a bigger user pool for the insurers, and more money flowing into investment accounts for Wall Street to play with), here’s a thought that may not have been factored in to the equation.
In the past generation, there was a substantial percentage of wives in married couples…whether stay-at-home or work outside the home women…who spent their golden years taking care of their husbands. This is something a lot of us witnessed first hand…without Mom making sure her husband got his 25 pills a day on time, and taking him to the doctors at the drop of a hat, he certainly would have died 15 years earlier than he did. The victim of a stroke, this former surgeon was not capable of doing these things himself. The same was true in my family of an uncle who had a debilitating disease.
The issue is: with half of all adults divorced, and women much less inclined to wait on and attend to men in their later years than before, how will this affect the cost of health care? It’s common knowledge that most men don’t tend to their health the way women do anyway. How will all these either single or married and pretty well on their own men jack up costs when they wait until things are really bad before seeking care? It may not be emergency room care with its astronomical cost, but it will certainly be much more expensive than catching problems early and treating them aggressively.
This could be an unseen bomb just waiting to blow up costs down the road. While I am of the camp that believes universal health care is inevitable…all the developed countries in the world but the US already has it…this would be a fly in the ointment no matter which course we take.