Now that Obamacare is in full swing, so is President Obama as he travels across the country in an effort to convince younger Americans to sign up for the health care options coming this fall. That's the deadline for the next phase of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and probably one of the most telling milestones of this flawed legislation. If the younger generations don't fill the rosters of the health exchanges and new insurance plans, there will simply not be enough "healthy" patients to balance out the "unhealthy" ones.
A new report by the United Health Foundation, which analyzed senior health state by state, underscores a very serious problem that only makes this situation even worse. As USA Today reports, an aging population is living longer but with growing rates of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Based purely on the numbers, we can expect a crisis in health care—worse than imaged. Today, 1 in 8 Americans are 65 years and older. That number will change to 1 in 5 Americans by the year 2030.
The United Health Foundation's annual survey, called America's Health Rankings Senior Report, focuses on 34 measures of senior health which fall into 2 categories—determinants and outcomes. Determinants represent those actions that can affect the future health of the population, whereas outcomes represent what has already occurred either through death or disease. According to the study, for a state to improve the health of its older adult population, efforts must focus on changing the determinants of health.
Simply put, crunching the numbers in each state points out the dangers we are facing as a nation, both in terms of the economy and the way health care is delivered in this country. Each state has its challenges, but with the federal government stepping in with the ACA these challenges become even greater. For example, the rate of the uninsured population has increased 15% from 13.9% 10 years ago to 16% in 2012. That can only mean more number crunching ahead.
So who can take action? These health information studies point out the numbers, but what actions should be taken by elected officials, medical professionals, public health professionals, employers, educations, and communities to improve the health of the population of the United States? Clearly, that is something that needs to be addressed.
I encourage each individual to look at this current health crisis and their own role in society—whether it be employer or employee, health care professional, or elected official—and to take responsibility in their own community and, at the very least, become familiar with the regional issues as well as the multigenerational ones. If we let this crisis fester, the price we pay down the road will be unimaginable.
Thank you for reading!
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer