Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Health Care Math Everyone Avoids ~ By Jeremiah Norris

From IBD Editorials
By JEREMIAH NORRIS Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 4:20 PM PT The health overhaul debate has generated plenty of heat. Yet no one has offered a solution to one vital and unavoidable dimension: the future. In 20 years the country will have many more retired people as a proportion of the population. The population will therefore suffer from far higher rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. If a public option will exist for health insurance, the cost of paying these bills will be an intolerable burden on the dwindling band of economically active U.S. taxpayers. The costs of treating chronic diseases already weigh heavily on the health sector. Nearly half of Americans suffer from one or more chronic (long-lasting) diseases. These are frequently only manageable rather than curable and come with a big price tag. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 75% of every dollar spent on health care is for treatment of patients with one or more chronic conditions, rising to 96% in public programs. These costs will increase massively the next 30 years. The management of diabetes requires expensive monitoring and drugs for the life of the patient. One-third of children born in 2000 will develop diabetes. Obesity is another portent of trouble ahead for U.S. medical care: 67% of Americans are officially obese — with an alarming increase in children and teenagers. The Milken Institute predicts that by 2015, 75% of Americans will be obese, significantly contributing to the rise in chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and renal failure. [READ ENTIRE COLUMN]
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