Healthcare System Takes a Beating for Seniors
Although Democrats and Republicans seem to always be quibbling about something, this time, the Republicans seem to have made a solid case.
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is also known as Obamacare, and describes the major overhaul to the American healthcare system. The details are many and complex, but the ACA’s aim is to provide more healthcare to more people. It hasn’t been the most popular act, and has divided citizens like they haven’t been in a long time.
Key components of the ACA have been Medicare and Medicaid, with the former being healthcare insurance assistance to Americans aged 65 and older (as well as young injured persons, patients with end stage renal disease, and those with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and the latter healthcare insurance assistance for those with low incomes. Medicaid is the largest source of healthcare funding for low-income citizens, while Medicare features various parts and buy-ins.
Recently, the Obama government has been slowly cutting parts and pieces of the ACA, with seniors some of the first to notice the hit. Already saddled with a limited retirement income and increasing health issues, seniors have to somehow figure out how to take care of themselves in an ever costly healthcare system.
The United States healthcare systems is one of the most expensive in the world. The average amount spent on each person in the United States is $8,500, a ghastly figure when compared to our neighbors to the north who spent under $6,000 per person. But when you compare it against the Swiss and Norwegians ($5,700), Netherlanders ($5,000), French ($4,100) and Swedes ($4,000), questions begin to arise.
The issues become more complex when you factor in what percent of the country’s GDP is spent on each person. The United States spends about 18% of its GDP on per-person healthcare costs, paling in comparison with the Netherlands, France, Germany, Canada and Switzerland (11-12%), and Norway and Sweden (less than 10%).
One common argument is that the United States healthcare system is the best in the world and as such, should cost more. But when American healthcare recipients were polled, 32% said they hadn’t seen a doctor when necessary because of high costs. Tied for second are the Netherlands and New Zealand, with only 20% responding the same. When the question was changed to not filling a prescription or skipping doses to save on money, 21% of Americans admitted to that, with no other country even in the double digits.
And for the truly skeptical, the United States is ranked behind every single country in Western Europe in terms of life expectancy. Because seniors are naturally the markers of life expectancy, it would appear as though they have to bear the brunt of a weakened healthcare system, too.