As the nation prepares to provide end of life care for Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), I wonder, “How will we fund the care for this generation as they navigate through their final days?”
Right now Medicare, a government insurance program, covers Americans who are 65 and older. When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill creating Medicare on July 30, 1965, only half of America’s elderly had any health insurance. Initially decried by its opponents as socialized medicine, Medicare has become one of the government’s most popular programs — and one of its costliest.
As the country’s population continues to live longer and health care costs continue to outpace inflation, Medicare has moved to the center of the debate over the long-term fiscal viability of the government. Its costs are rising quickly, and according to AgingStats.gov by the year 2030, more than 80 million people will be on Medicare which will be nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population. Currently the number of people on Medicare is around 45 million.
Baby Boomers will live longer than any prior generation and there will be fewer family members to support them both financially and physically.
Who will ensure that Baby Boomers have the opportunity to age gracefully and die well? How will we fund their final months and days?
My post this month takes a look at these questions through reviewing a recent New York Times article written by an emergency MD called – How Baby Boomers Will Change End of Life Care. Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy points out that the Baby Boomer generation has been responsible for radical change during their lifetime including the civil rights and women’s movement. She has no doubt that this generation will spark a revolution in end of life care as they prepare to die with dignity, courage and freedom.