On PEI - costs are rising at over 11%. This year they will be $600 million - about the same as PEI's tax revenue. If we do nothing, in 5 years time they will be at least $1.2 billion. At that rate they will double in another 2 years.
This is not your usual health care cost problem - this is a true crisis that will be hard to kick into the future. Of course it's not just PEI but all who pay for health care that are at risk.
Back in the old days when most of us were young, it was affordable to simply treat the sick or to house the old. But soon most of us will be over 65!
What worked for a few people cannot work for lots of us.
This is partly the context for my banging on about getting healthy.
No amount of rationing or gains in delivery efficiency will be able to handle the load of the aging population. We boomers are like the pig in the python!
The most important issue to handle will be the "Load".
Just a few thoughts about the who and the why of the main part of the load.
The average Islander male becomes disabled by poor health by 65. He then lives dependent on his spouse, family or on us the state for nearly another 10 years. For women, merely advance the time line by 5 years. Here is most of the "pig".
No amount of treatment or medication has done anything to reduce this load. In an ironic fact it may have made it worse, because it does not "cure" Type 2 Diabetes or heart disease (which often arises as a result of Type 2 Diabetes) it merely enables us to carry on.
So the unspoken question is what has made us so ill? Is this normal and unavoidable? If the answer is that this is not normal then there must be things that we can do to lower the risk and so the load. My quick answer is that this is not normal and there are things to be done - but this is not widely understood yet and so needs to be explored.
Understanding why so many get so ill is the pivotal issue. If we can settle on that, then we can find ways to reduce the risk.
Another part of the Load is found in those people who do not get ill in the 60's. We all have grannies and relatives who seem to go on for ever and not be ill. But even they reach a stage when it is hard for them to care for themselves. Our current "Normal" is to help them by putting them in manors. This again was affordable for us as a society when there were not that many of us who were aged 85+. But in 20 years there may well be about 12,000 at that stage.
We just don't have the money to go down that route.
So how are we to support people who are very old and who often have no family close? What is the alternative to institutions? What can we do that will work and not cost too much? How do these two issues link?
We are clever. When we put our minds to a problem like this, we can use our collective intelligence to plan for a better way.
Time to start the conversation for the pips will be squeaking in 2013/4 at the latest, we within the next mandate.Amplify’d from www.cbc.ca
Our Sputnik moment, which no one wants to discuss, is the unsustainable nature of the Canadian health-care system.
The current federal-provincial cost-sharing agreement expires at the end of March 2014 and, with a possible election looming, no politician in any party wants to talk about the fiscal time bomb that is waiting to explode.
Today, health-care costs are rising at the rate of six per cent a year and are consuming over 40 per cent of the budgets of almost every provincial government.
As well, Canada's aging population means more demands on the expensive drugs and procedures that are extending longevity. It also means there will be proportionately fewer working-age people to pay the taxes that support health care and other government programs.
Indeed, because of that changing ratio, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, among others, is predicting slower economic growth for Canada in the years ahead.
So how is that for a Sputnik moment: An aging population and a proportionately smaller workforce to pay for what Canadians of all ages believe should be free.
Read more at www.cbc.ca
But look up, the health-care Sputnik is moving this way. And it might be pretty scary, too.