Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Universal Health Coverage Is Ailing

From this opinion piece at Reuters:
...[The] belief in socialized medicine is under strain, for the health services of the rich European states are in various kinds of “crisis.” I put the word in quotation marks because healthcare is ritually said by journalists to be in crisis: it’s the word that cries wolf. But this time there is a wolf.

In Italy, the UK, Spain and France, cuts of varying depths are now being introduced. In France, where the health system is usually seen as the best, the budget is exceded by billions of euros every year: the head of the association of French pharmacies says the system cannot survive more than six years without deep reform. In the UK, the new director of the Care Quality Commission that oversees standards, said after his appointment earlier this year that “the system is on the brink of collapse.”

The more socialized the U.S. system becomes, the more it will find itself facing the same dilemmas as the Europeans’. These dilemmas are all symptoms of the way we live now.

In nearly every country, people live longer than they once did. And in most countries, women give birth to fewer kids. In 2000, around 16 percent of Germany and the UK’s population was over 65 in 2000, while the U.S. had only 12.7 percent. But in the U.S., the proportion of over-65’s will increase to near 20 percent of the population in 2050, and over 80’s to around 8 percent. The UK will have over 20 percent of 65-plus citizens by 2050. Germany will have around 30 percent of 65-and-up by 2050; it will have around 15 percent of its population in their 80s.

So there will be fewer economically active taxpayers in North America and Europe while there’s a greater need for taxes to pay for socialized medical care....
A reality check.

The elephant in the room.

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