Too often those who beat the drums of cutting out the fat in the health care system ignore the reality that at some point there’s just no more fat to cut. The enthusiasm for saving dollars is now cutting connecting tissue and muscle too!
I’ve seen it most in visiting friends who are taking care of older family members. Our health care system is not prepared to handle the increase in older patients and the support they need.
Families and friends are often surprised and too often overwhelmed by the amount of attention they must provide even in the best of health care settings to make sure their loved ones get the care they need. Cost cutting has created a shortage of nurses, social workers, and all the members of a health care team. It has put a stopwatch on the time our health care provider can talk to us making the profession more difficult to practice and frustrating patients who no longer feel cared for.
We just can’t trim more from health care expenditures when the number of older people (and by definition sicker people) is getting larger.
Tax credits and insurance pools will only take us so far…we need to accept that health will be a larger portion of our country’s GDP. That is inevitable. The challenge is to create a system that is better and covers many more lives. That will take more and new dollars.
What do you think?