HOME OR HOME DEPOT?

The excerpt below from the June 28, 2011 CQ Health Beat, by Jane Norman, was forwarded to me by one of my colleagues, offered in evidence as to why some of the more heavy-handed HMOs may survive. Although I’ve looked upon the health care system soberly for almost two years in this blog and have been anticipating the worst, I found the figures below to be stunning in their import, to say the least:

·         Medicare beneficiaries are already burdened with a substantial portion of their own health spending, according to a series of reports issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
·         Half of all people on Medicare had incomes below $22,000 in 2010 and fewer than 1 percent had incomes of more than $250,000, say the Kaiser reports.
·         The reports also conclude that half of all beneficiaries have less than $2,100 in retirement account savings and half have less than $31,000 in other financial assets. The data also shows that half of the people on Medicare had less than $60,000 in home equity in 2010.
·         Medicare beneficiaries spent three times as much of their income on health expenses than people not on Medicare, according to Kaiser, with the majority going toward health insurance premiums. Other big costs include long-term care that is not covered by Medicare, medical providers and supplies, and prescription drugs.
·         The Kaiser reports show that health spending increases with age, and that spending is also high for people in poor health or with low or modest incomes that are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

If you’re a glass-is-half-full kind of a guy or gal, you’ll see the stats as confirmation that the current excesses in the system will be self-correcting. On the other hand, if you see the glass as half empty, they represent a coming decline in medical innovation and the warehousing of the old and infirm in beleaguered institutions. But, to pile on the clichés, the cloud may indeed have a silver lining. I’ve lamented the loss of the extended family in this country, and when the institutions become unable to provide, we may be driven to return to a time when we looked after our own.

After all, a home beats a warehouse any day.

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One Response to “HOME OR HOME DEPOT?”

  1. Jim Roark Says:

    I like the blog and I like my cardiologist. Keep
    up the good work and vote the empty suit(s)
    out of office next year.

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