- We spend a lot on health care. The U.S. spent about $1,443 a person on health care in 2016. The next highest: Switzerland, which shelled out $939 per person.
- But it’s not because we use it much more often. For the most part, people in the U.S. used health care services about as often as people in other countries.
- Prices for goods, like prescription drugs, seem to play a big part. Take the cholesterol drug Crestor, with a list price of $86 per month in the U.S., but $41 in Germany and $9 in Australia.
- So do labor costs, such as physician salaries. General physicians in the U.S. had the highest salary of any country in the study, making $218,173 on average, compared to $154,126 in Germany, which had the next highest salary.”
by Gary Kaye
“According to the website Pants Up Easy, which tracks disabilities, some 3.6 million Americans over the age of 15 use a wheelchair for mobility. Perhaps that seems kind of low, but it doesn’t include all the folks using a cane, crutches or a walker (11.6 million). Overall 20 percent of women in the U.S have disabilities and 17 percent of all men. Those are staggering numbers that will only go higher as baby boomers age. Earlier this year, I became disabled as a result of cascading medical problems.
“The disabled population pays a huge price, one which American society largely ignores. Let’s start off with medical devices from stairlifts to wheelchairs, from ramps to commodes.
“Some of these are covered by either private insurance or Medicare Part B, but many are not. You will need a doctor’s prescription and a prior authorization which will only be granted if the device is deemed a medical necessity. Many of the electric powered personal mobility devices such as scooters are not approved medical devices.”
Continue reading this Tech50Plus article, click here.
“Elderly Lose Their Rights | Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it.” – The New Yorker
“Illustration by Anna Parini”
“After a stranger became their guardian, Rudy and Rennie North were moved to a nursing home and their property was sold.”
by Rachel Aviv
“For years, Rudy North woke up at 9 a.m. and read the Las Vegas Review-Journal while eating a piece of toast. Then he read a novel—he liked James Patterson and Clive Cussler—or, if he was feeling more ambitious, Freud. On scraps of paper and legal notepads, he jotted down thoughts sparked by his reading. “’Deep below the rational part of our brain is an underground ocean where strange things swim,’ he wrote on one notepad. On another, ‘Life: the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.’
“Rennie, his wife of fifty-seven years, was slower to rise. She was recovering from lymphoma and suffered from neuropathy so severe that her legs felt like sausages. Each morning, she spent nearly an hour in the bathroom applying makeup and lotions, the same brands she’d used for forty years. She always emerged wearing pale-pink lipstick. Rudy, who was prone to grandiosity, liked to refer to her as ‘my amour.’
“On the Friday before Labor Day, 2013, the Norths had just finished their toast when a nurse, who visited five times a week to help Rennie bathe and dress, came to their house, in Sun City Aliante, an ‘active adult’ community in Las Vegas.”
Credit: Roger Kisby for The New York Times
by Tara Siegel Bernard
“For a rapidly growing share of older Americans, traditional ideas about life in retirement are being upended by a dismal reality: bankruptcy.
“The signs of potential trouble — vanishing pensions, soaring medical expenses, inadequate savings — have been building for years. Now, new research sheds light on the scope of the problem: The rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991, the study found, and the same group accounts for a far greater share of all filers.
Driving the surge, the study suggests, is a three-decade shift of financial risk from government and employers to individuals, who are bearing an ever-greater responsibility for their own financial well-being as the social safety net shrinks.”
Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.
“Stop giving so much money to your kids, and 8 more ways to afford retirement.” – The Washington Post
“Thanks to debt, divorce, needy children, and a host of other money-sucking problems, many boomers need to rethink their spending habits if they ever want to retire.”
Peter and Maria Hoey
by Susan Moeller
“IF YOU’RE A BABY BOOMER entering the tunnel of possible retirement, there’s one hard truth to acknowledge: Bad stuff happens.
“No matter how prepared you think you might be — and experts say boomers are, generally speaking, quite unprepared — unforeseen events can derail finances. Take just a few that hit me starting in my 50s: divorce, serious health issues, and family crises. And that’s just the big stuff. Even if you downsize, the car will still need new tires. The old dog will tear his ACL. And the condo association will raise its fees.
“You’d think boomers would be OK. We hold 60 percent of the wealth in the United States, according to a report by the management firm McKinsey and Co. But we have also accumulated unprecedented levels of debt and will actually need the Social Security we are accused of squandering.”
“In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America” – The New York Times
“RICHMOND, Va. — Before the first hearings on the morning docket, the line starts to clog the lobby of the John Marshall Courthouse. No cellphones are allowed inside, but many of the people who’ve been summoned don’t learn that until they arrive. ‘Put it in your car,’ the sheriff’s deputies suggest at the metal detector. That advice is no help to renters who have come by bus. To make it inside, some tuck their phones in the bushes nearby.
“This courthouse handles every eviction in Richmond, a city with one of the highest eviction rates in the country, according to new data covering dozens of states and compiled by a team led by the Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond.
Two years ago, Mr. Desmond turned eviction into a national topic of conversation with ‘Evicted,’ a book that chronicled how poor families who lost their homes in Milwaukee sank ever deeper into poverty. It became a favorite among civic groups and on college campuses, some here in Richmond. Bill Gates and former President Obama named it among the best books they had read in 2017, and it was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
But for all the attention the problem began to draw, even Mr. Desmond could not say how widespread it was.”
Continue reading this New York Times article, click here.
“A new report finds the U.S. spent nearly twice as much on health care in 2016 as 10 other high-income countries — but by and large, our health outcomes are worse. The U.S. had the highest maternal and infant mortality rates and the lowest life expectancy of the 11 countries included in the study. So what’s driving that difference in spending? A look at the numbers:
A new Kaiser Family Foundation brief and interactive map provide the latest national and state-level estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau of the share of people ages 65 and older who are living in poverty. In 2016, 9.3 percent of seniors, or 4.6 million people, lived in poverty, based on the official poverty threshold of $11,511 in income for an individual age 65 or older. That year 30.4 percent, or 15 million seniors, had income under twice the poverty threshold. Under an alternative measure of poverty, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure, the analysis shows a larger share and number of seniors living below poverty thresholds. That measure, developed in response to concerns that the official measure does not accurately reflect people’s financial resources or liabilities, takes into account out-of-pocket health care costs, regional variation in housing costs and other factors.
Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, 14.5 percent of people ages 65 and older, or 7.1 million, were living in poverty in 2016—2.5 million more seniors in poverty than under the official measure. And under this measure, 42.4 percent, or 20.9 million people, had incomes below twice the poverty level—5.9 million more seniors than under the official poverty measure.
SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation
There’s a fiction at the heart of the debate over entitlements: The carefully cultivated impression that beneficiaries are simply receiving back their ‘own’ money.”
by Eric Schnurer
“One day in 1984, Kurt Vonnegut called.
“I was ditching my law school classes to work on the presidential campaign of Walter Mondale, the Democratic candidate against Ronald Reagan, when one of those formerly-ubiquitous pink telephone messages was delivered to me saying that Vonnegut had called, asking to speak to one of Mondale’s speechwriters.
“All sorts of people called to talk to the speechwriters with all sorts of whacky suggestions; this certainly had to be the most interesting. I stared at the 212 phone number on the pink slip, picked up a phone, and dialed.
“A voice, so gravelly and deep that it seemed to lie at the outer edge of the human auditory range, rasped, ‘Hello.’ I introduced myself. There was a short pause, as if Vonnegut were fixing his gaze on me from the other end of the line, then he spoke.
“It’s the grandparents stealing from the grandchildren.”
Click here to continue reading this provocative and controversial opinion piece at The Atlantic.