Saturday, October 13, 2007

Baby boomers are in trouble

Everybody talks and writes about how the baby boomers are going to change the United States -- change the world -- as they age. But few people realize that the deck is stacked against them where geriatric medicine is concerned.

Dr. Robert Butler understands. Speaking on Life Part II, Butler said, "All medical schools in Great Britain have a department of geriatrics, and it's now either the second or the third largest specialty in Great Britain. We have 145 medical schools, as you say with academic hospitals, university hospitals, and only eleven of them have required geriatric departments."

That's not enough. Worse, there's not enough incentive for young doctors to go into geriatric medicine. They make more money in other specialties.

But, Dr.Butler says, “When the baby boomers hit golden pond, things are going to have to change.”

However, the needed changes cannot, will not happen overnight. So you young people (in your early 60's) better get busy. Eventually, the U.S. will have enough geriatric specialists. But not in time for the baby boomers.

That will be your gift to future generations.


The South Plainsman said...

The Baby Boomers, as a generation, have always acted as if there were no tomorrow, and are going to be surprised when tomorrow actually comes. Lack of geriatric specialists is the tip of the iceberg. Who is going to finance their Medicare? Who is going to finance their Social Security. Their children and grandchilderen will be far fewer in numbers relative to the retired population than we have now. Continued resistance to reform of both of those programs is going to lead to great angst among Baby Boomers, particularly the youngest of the cohort. Adding more government programs like nationalized medical care will only increase the burdens on the future. I have a feeling that the results aren't going to be very pretty.

The South Plainsman said...

Another comment: the fees for geriactric medicine are set by Medicare. It is very difficult for a physician to pay salaries, overhead and insurance on just Medicare level fees. Therefore, younger docs just do not have the incentive to go into that line of work. In Great Britain, all the docs work for the government, so it is easier to do. Of course, one would not want to need something very quickly over there. I understand the wait list is veerry long. You see, the good docs from around the world come here to avoid socialized medicine.

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