Aging Populations and Health Care Costs

The notion that health costs increase disproportionately as a population ages is questioned in a study from Canada. They note:

“While aging is one factor driving up the health care tab, it plays a relatively small role compared to population growth, inflation and medical technology, says the think-tank. According to the report, the biggest factors pushing up costs are new drugs and diagnostic tools.”

The corollary of this finding is that we need to find a way to control the costs of new drugs and assure appropriate use of new technology, including new diagnostic tools.

It was also noted:

“Japan, which has among the world’s largest share of people aged 65 and older, spends less than eight per cent of its total wealth on health care. The U.S., with one of the lowest rates of seniors in the industrialized world, spends nearly double that amount. Canada, whose population of elderly falls in between, spends about 10.6 per cent of its total wealth on health care.”

What’s amazing is that we accept our inefficiency. Some even claim that our “system” is the best in the world when our costs far exceed and health outcomes lag behind those of other industrialized nations. We seem to encourage mediocrity.

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