We’re Failing Our Elders – Medicare’s Shortfalls Just Won’t Cut It

Caring for our elderly is a global challenge, yet as a country, the United States often falls short in providing the necessary funding and support compared to other wealthy nations. As a result, American seniors are bearing the brunt of an inadequate system, suffering both financially and health-wise.

Elder Care America

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When it comes to looking after our seniors, America ranks poorly compared to many other wealthy nations. The healthcare system, notorious for its expensive and often confusing Medicare structure, has left seniors struggling both financially and health-wise.

2017 International Survey

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A 2017 survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that, when it comes to looking after our seniors, we fail to provide adequate long-term care compared to other countries. Many seniors face higher out-of-pocket costs, have limited access to proper care, and often don’t receive their necessary medical treatment due to financial barriers.

Skipping on Care

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One of the greatest failures of our system is the number of older adults, especially those with chronic conditions or physical limitations, who skip their necessary care. Twenty-three percent of healthy seniors and one-third of high-need seniors have chosen to miss their treatment because of costs.

Spending on Long-Term Care

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We limit our long-term care spending to only a small fraction of our GDP. Most wealthy countries spend more on their elderly, whether through governmental programs or national insurance.

Medicare Lacks Generosity

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The American Medicare system is the only system that offers universal healthcare in the U.S. Even so, Medicare often requires more out-of-pocket costs than most other wealthy countries and is constantly facing threats of funding cuts.

Elder Care in Japan

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While the American system struggles, other countries have found more effective solutions. For instance, Japan, with its aging population, has created a long-term care insurance system mandatory for citizens over the age of 40. The funding comes from taxes and premiums, includes a maximum limit on out-of-pocket spending, and offers paid leave and care managers.

The Dutch System

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In contrast, the Netherlands has a universal healthcare system that focuses on programs for nursing homes, at-home care, and social and financial support for the elderly. The country invests heavily in its seniors and limits any individual payments that may be required.

How Canada Cares for its Elderly

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Our neighbors to the north offer a mix of public and private services, which vary by province and territory. General taxes cover most of these costs, significantly limiting the financial burden on individuals.

Long-Term Care in Great Britain

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The British system focuses on financial need, requiring most middle and upper-class individuals to cover their costs themselves. Britain spends money to ensure that senior citizens do not fall into poverty due to long-term care, but recent funding cuts have strained the system.

Singapore’s Elderly

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Singapore’s CareShield Life insurance program is mandatory starting at age 30 and continues until retirement age. The government subsidizes those earning below a certain threshold, and additional subsidies and grants help relieve some of the costs of institutional care.

Financial Barriers to Care

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For many of our seniors, the high cost of medical care often forces them to choose between paying their medical bills and buying groceries. The results of this system can be detrimental: skipped treatments, worsening health conditions, and overall increased healthcare costs.

Impact on Senior Health

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Because of significant financial barriers, many of our elderly citizens experience declining health. Without affordable access to necessary medical services, many seniors find their manageable and treatable conditions becoming more complicated.

The Mental Health Toll

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With potentially declining physical health and the stress of affording care, many seniors are struggling with their mental health. Social isolation and mental health issues are common consequences of a poor healthcare system.

How it Affects Quality of Life

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Quality of life is a major concern for aging populations around the world. For our seniors, the stress of worrying about their health is already a significant burden. However, when combined with financial concerns and limited access to proper treatments, the overall standard of living is significantly lowered.

The Economic Risk

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In addition to their well-being, there is an economic risk associated with long-term care. Some seniors may struggle to pay their bills or afford their daily expenses after incurring large bills from necessary medical care or long-term living institutions.

Addressing the Elder Care Crisis

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The American system of senior care has significant room for improvement. Expanding Medicare to cover more services, reducing out-of-pocket costs, and increasing insurance coverage should be prioritized.

Coordination of Care

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Learning from other countries, America could benefit from creating a more comprehensive system. By coordinating care systems, we could see significant improvements in the health of our seniors.

More Government Spending

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Increased government spending and support for elder care programs could significantly improve the situation for our seniors. Investing in these services could help reduce financial barriers for one of the country’s most vulnerable populations.

Introduction of Community-Based Care

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Adopting a community-based care model could provide a more personalized and effective solution for seniors. By focusing on small-scale living arrangements and embracing community involvement, we could significantly improve the quality of care and life for the elderly.

Seeking a Better Solution

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Improving elder care in America will require policy changes, increased funding, and better care coordination. By learning from the successful models of other countries, America can develop a more effective care system that ensures our seniors are well cared for.

The post We’re Failing Our Elders – Medicare’s Shortfalls Just Won’t Cut It first appeared on Mama Say What?!

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.