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    American older adults sicker and poorer than 10 other countries, survey says

    Older adults in the United States are sicker and more likely to skip treatment than senior patients in 10 other developed countries, according to an international survey by the Commonwealth Fund.

    The reason: They can’t afford care.


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    The 2017 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults examined healthcare and access issues of those 65 and older in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

    What makes this survey unique is that it looked only the age group of people who all are covered by Medicare, says Robin Osborn, MBA, vice president and director of The Commonwealth Fund’s International Policy and Practice Innovations program and one of the authors of this study.  

    “We were surprised at how much more serious the shortfalls were for U.S. elderly than we thought,” Osborn says.  “In other surveys, the U.S. looks relatively poor on many measures, just because of access, but everyone age 65  has Medicare. Medicare is such a beloved program…yet in quite stark relief, we see some of  (its) real shortfalls.”

    Across all 11 countries, at least one in eight older adults reported having three or more chronic conditions. But in the United States, the rate was the highest, with 36 percent being considered high needs.  “That’s three times the rate of New Zealand (13 percent), and of this group, we are the sickest,” Osborn says.

    Americans, nearly a quarter at 23 percent, reported financial worries, saying that in the past year, they had not visited a doctor when they were sick, had skipped a recommended test or treatment, had not filled a prescription or had skipped medication doses because of the cost.  This compares to five percent or less in France, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.  Additionally, 22 percent of American respondents in the survey reported spending $2,000 or more on medical care in the past year. Except for Switzerland, which reported 31 percent, less than 10 percent of older adults in the other countries spent that much.  

    Problems get even more exacerbated for the high-need older adults – those with three or more medical issues – in that 31 percent of them skip care because of costs.

    Next:  “The two together are a really bad combination.”


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      Ok, now that the American healthcare system has been declared a failure in its ability to provide care to the elderly, what are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. doing that makes their ability to care for their elderly healthcare consumer so much better than ours? We are so divided as a country can be right now how on Earth are we going to remedy any problem facing us as a nation much less the problem caring for our elderly population which is only going to get bigger and bigger as BABY BOOMERS such as me hit the age of 65.Ezekiel Emanuel, an architect of OBAMACARE, brother of the notorious mayor of Chicago, murder capital of the United States, says he would be content to live until 75 and then die and not have to be confined in a nursing home for whatever time he has remaining in his natural life without any attempt to increase his longevity when valuable healthcare resources should be used to help those who are younger. The Democrat Party thinks Republicans want to push grandma and grandpa over a cliff in their wheelchairs, make the air foul and unbreathable, pollute the waters of our planet and contaminate the land and the food it produces.There actually is a product called SOYLENT, a liquid nutritional supplement, but it's not made from people as in the movie with Charlton Heston. Our political parties have to put animosity aside and work together in this task of providing adequate and affordable healthcare to our ever growing population now almost 350 million. If those 10 countries whose eldercare is better than ours continue to admit immigrants from 3rd world nations who are not interested in becoming responsible members of the societies in which they live and whose aim it is to destroy that society and replace it with their own they will be in the same boat as we find ourselves in at the present time.
    • [email protected]
      It is hard to tease out the health habits of patients comparing country to country. Certainly, there are cohorts in the US that take very good care of themselves, are accountable to their health needs, manage their care proactively and contact their physician early in the day when some health issue arises vs those who delay seeking care long past the appearance of a problem or who call at 530 pm (I can't get anyone to call me back) rather than 830 am (they made an appointment for me to come in right away) to be seen by their doctor. The new generation of shift working doctors and midlevels might find evening shifts to their liking if they are off the following day. I would not implicate entrepreneurship as a root cause of these observations. Some workforce medical insurance coverage modifies (improves) member behavior by penalizing employees financially for poor health habits. Patients in America can be more accountable and that would improve the data. Also I thought the punctuation of the essay employed too many commas.
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      There are two major issues at play here. Cost and access. Especially for seniors who typically have multiple health issues as a result of the aging process and genetics. Direct Primary Care addresses both of these issues by: 1) removing the intermediation by government and insurance that takes up so much of the PCP's time, leaving little time for the actual practice of medicine, and 2) via price transparency resources and identification of independent, non-hospital owned specialists and facilities that offer cash pricing at significant savings over insurance-based and hospital-owned practices and ancillary facilities. This also applies to pharmaceuticals. By significant savings, I am talking about 50-90%. By being available to patients 24/7 via text, email or secure video in addition to office visits when necessary, DPC docs make access to their practice significantly better. By providing this unlimited access for a cost typically at or below $100/month, it is also financially feasible for most seniors.

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