The International Longevity Center-USA did their research in a report entitled: “Myths of the High Medical Cost of Old Age and Dying”, which details what for some will be a surprising fact: it's not true that the aging of Americans and overly aggressive care at the end of life are major causes of increasing health care costs in the United States.
In looking for topics for my daily blog, I came across a study conducted by the International Longevity Center-USA in a report that found that only 5 to 10 percent of the increase in health care spending can be attributed to our aging population and the care they likely receive in the last year of their lives. The remainder of the increase is caused by a number of other reasons.
Although it has been a long held populate belief that already high healthcare costs will skyrocket over the next 20 years as the oldest baby boomers reach their eighties, this report finds that this is not true of one looks at current trends. In fact, if better care continues to decrease chronic disability among seniors, healthcare costs for this segment of the population will be be the reason for rising healthcare costs. The report found that the percentage of chronic disability had, in fact, already decreased by 6.5 points over the period between 1982 and 1999.
It should come as no surprise that when isolating Medicare spending, one will find that a high percentage of Medicare dollars goes toward paying for healthcare for seniors usually in the patient’s last year of life. After all, Medicare largely serves the elderly. However, the care that is being provided to seniors has not proven to be overly-aggressive and what is more important, these costs, as a percentage of overall Medicare spending, have remained stable.
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