CARP Letter to the Editor, re: boomers will cripple health-care system

On August 23rd 2010 the Globe and Mail reported on a poll conducted by the Canadian Medical Association that was meant to substantiate the idea that the current health care system will be bankrupt by the aging population. To read the Globe and Mail article, go to Survey finds most fear boomers will cripple health-care system The coverage was decidedly one sided and offered no solutions. Susan Eng, CARP VP of Advocacy responded with the following letter to the editor:

The Canadian Medical Association can scare people into focusing on health care spending but should have something useful to say once they have our attention. Besides scapegoating Boomers for out of control health care budgets – a persistent myth that defies facts to get in the way – the report offers few alternatives besides higher taxes and user fees. The questions are phrased as “what should be done about [name problem] caused by the Baby Boom generation”. So it’s not surprising that they elicit the “hair-on-fire” headlines that accompany the media stories.

The CMA Survey could have asked – but did not – whether the CMA should do more to bring in many more nurse practitioners or multi-disciplinary practice teams; or home care options so that people can better deal with their medical challenges on their own, or health promotion and disease prevention programs, or get all doctors to more quickly adopt electronic patient records so that people can see their test results and make appointments by internet, or, heaven forbid, benchmarks on how well doctors are contributing to health system efficiencies and effectiveness. They got an A-B grade – but compared to what?

CARP has polled its members on these questions and more. And we can report that CARP members not only overwhelmingly support such initiatives but have grown older waiting for them to materialize. So before we see any more attempts to start an intergenerational war over healthcare spending, it would be a better idea to get started on the solutions. The CMA can lead the charge.

Click here to read the original Canadian Medical Association Report

Keywords: healthcare, costs, boomers