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Baby boomers and health care issues are likely to increase as they enter their senior years. Boomers have had access to advance medical care which has extended and improved their lives, but now face a shortage of specialized health care providers as well as questions about affordability.
Of significant concern today is the issue of baby boomers and health care. This huge generation of some 78 million is rapidly aging and raising concerns about the challenges to their health related to aging and the ability of the health care system to provide adequate and affordable access to necessary care.
Health care itself is of massive concern to the American economy. Its costs are at an all time high and continue to rise, as do the costs of insurance to cover some of the expense. As baby boomers rapidly approach their senior years, Medicare, which has become a primary funder of health care for those 65 and over, is being questioned as to its viability. As the budget of the United States grows tighter and concerns over deficits increase, Medicare funding could even be on the Congressional chopping block.
American health care has meant that more of the baby boomer generation has survived to reach their senior years, and for current baby boomers, they can expect to live about another 22 to 25 years. This will result in a massive number of Americans needing the specialists required for elder care and for its related conditions. Unfortunately, the numbers of geriatricians who specialize in the care of the aging is declining just as the numbers of the aging are steeply increasing.
Good health care has reduced some of the risk factors for baby boomers. The death rated from such feared killers and cripplers as heart disease and stroke have decreased by 60% and 70% respectively since the 1950's. Cancer deaths also continue to decline. There has been more emphasis on preventative medicine over the lives of baby boomers and they have mostly had the lifelong opportunity for adequate nutrition.
In fact, the affordability and availability of food has been a curse for baby boomers and health care as well. Obesity is epidemic in the U.S. And baby boomers have not been spared. About 39% of those now from 55 to 64 years old are obese. Obesity contributes to the risk of a myriad of other chronic and acute diseases that increase both disability and health care costs.
Health care for baby boomers must take into account dealing with their issues such as obesity and their frequent lack of exercise. There must also be measures taken to assure that the growing numbers of aging baby boomers can afford to access the medical treatments, diagnostic tests and prescription drugs they will need for healthy and active lives.