There was a provoking comment on my last blog from “Cross” who expressed displeasure in “well-off” senior citizens using a lot of health care services while the middle class person has to get by with less.
So allow me to throw this out for thought and further comment. Here is our current circumstance: The older population is growing larger in size with each passing year. The other dynamic taking place in our older population is that the 80 and older segment is growing larger in size than we have ever seen before in the United States. So what would the cost be if the 70+ age group did not have health care, and they needed (for example) a knee replacement or a hip replacement they couldn’t afford because it’s too costly?
Is it really a cost to society to provide this service? If you think this surgery is costly, consider the alternative… Not having the surgery. When a person (of any age) can’t walk, stand, or transfer themselves from bed to chair, chair to toilet, what happens? They spend their money paying for in-home help until they are broke. Then what? Off to the nursing home at $60,000 to $70,000 per year. Paid by whom? If you don’t want to send them to a nursing home, then I suppose we can bring back the concept of “The Poor Farm” and not render any health care — just food and shelter.
Or we can make an investment in the person who can’t walk because they need a knee or hip replacement. What do we get in return? A functional individual who is able to contribute to society (cook and bathe themselves, get a part-time or full-time job and pay taxes, babysit their grandchildren, deliver Meals on Wheels, volunteer for a local museum, participate in local government.)
So let me ask you: Is health care a cost or an investment?