The Cost of Growing Old

#tcot #hhrs
Where would you cut health care costs?

Lets play a hypothetical game....after an extended period without a job, and enjoying the new magically unending unemployment benefits (also known as Pelosi bucks!), you manage to land a mid-level position at the new National Health Administration, headquartered at the new Robert C. Byrd Federal Building in Charleston, West Virginia.

You are quickly assigned to the "Efficiencies" division, where you are given the task of helping reduce the operating costs of the new National Health Program. You are told that reducing costs due to waste and fraud will be handled by another division, located at the other Robert C. Byrd Federal Building located on the other side of Charleston.

In order to get your project kick-started, you are told to use the following graph, representing per-capita health care costs across a number of categories, to help decide where to cut costs.

Looking at this graph, there are obviously a few categories that contain significantly higher costs than the others. It is obvious to you and all the other newly hired bureaucrats around the Robert C. Byrd Conference Table that these categories are ripe for cost savings. Problem solved! By reducing those categories down to the levels of the other categories, not only can you hit your cost-savings targets, but you can instantly make health care spending 'fair', as all the categories would be relatively equal.

Who knew being a federal employee could be this easy??

Now lets come back to reality.... Sure that example is fairly simplistic, but he point is when you hear Democrats talk about achieving cost-savings with their nationalized health care proposals, those savings they talk about will come from the operational areas that contain the highest costs. If we know anything about government bureaucracy, it will tend to solve its problems not through tough choices, but through the "easy" choices. For bureaucrats, the easy choice is to reduce your highest cost.

Now lets take another look a at that graph, but this time using its proper sorting and labels.

(Numbers are from Canadian data, but is similar to US and other country's data as seen here and here)

This look makes it plain where those highest health care costs lie....with those Americans who are 65 and older. This makes perfect sense, as some of the most expensive medical procedures are those that have allowed us to extend our life expectancy over the last few decades.

So, if the goal of your plan is to provide the highest quality health care for everyone, you won't care if the costs spike at the end. But if the goal of your plan is to provide adequate health care to everyone at the least possible cost, then you will quickly begin to eye those outliers at the right end of the graph as the road to your budgetary salvation.

For those who protest that the suggestion that Obamacare would shortchange seniors is just scaremongering by an unruly mob, lets take a look at those countries that the Democrats want us to emulate (Sorry Mr Moore, Cuba is not on this chart...)

A quick look shows that overall costs for the younger portion of populations is not all that different, regardless of the country. However, in every other country, money spent on those over the age of 65 is significantly lower than in the US. Is there some magical European secret to providing the same health care to seniors that we do and a greatly reduced cost? No...they simply don't provide their seniors the quantity nd quality of care that we do. But hey. it saves them loads on money. The Democrats always trot out the stat that the US has the highest health care costs of any developed nation. Of course we do, because we spend 50-100% more than any other developed country on the medical quality of life for our seniors. It is good to grow old in the US, but it sucks to grow old in Europe.

To me it is quite obvious, that if Obamacare becomes the diktat of the land, there is one place where penny pinching bureaucrats will go to find their easiest possible savings. And if that is the future it will soon suck to grow old in the United States as well.

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