Canadians worry that aging boomers will overload health system
As the wave of baby boomers begin to retire, the strains of funding Canada’s health-care system will only grow over the next decade.
Combined with rising costs for most things in general, economists say health care spending, left unchecked, will become unsustainable.
So is it an wonder that so many Canadians worry about whether the country’s health system is ill-prepared to handle the needs of an aging population.
Six in 10 Canadians lack confidence in the health system’s ability to care for Canada’s rapidly greying population, particularly those who already have experience with its approach to looking after seniors, according to a recent study from the Canadian Medical Association.
Women, particularly those already caring for an elderly person, are among those least confident that hospitals and long-term care facilities can handle the demands of a population that's living longer than ever before.
The solution: Increase funding for long-term care facilities, home care and caregivers and improve utilization in general. But that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon, the CMA suggests.
But it is clearly the way to go. Estimates vary, but care provided in hospital costs $842 per day, while that provided in long-term care facilities is $126 per day. Home and community care are much less expensive.
It's still an incredible amount of money to go through, however. So much so that Canadians spent, largely through taxes, a total of $207-billion for health services in 2012. That works out to $5,948 per capita, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
The treouble is, the health services people use vary considerably with age, rising to $6,223 per capita after the age of 65 and $20,113 for those 80 and older.
Add it all up and we consume, on average, just over $220,000 in publicly funded health-care services over a lifetime, the CIHI estimates.Do you feel you're getting your fair share of available health dollars? Are you worried about what the future might hold?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: Atul | Aug 26, 2021 8:39:22 PM
Well I feel I alongwith my family are getting fair share of our health care dollars.
As Canada job market continue to find more workers than future may not be as bad as it appears, atleast this is what I feel.
Posted by: chris young | Aug 27, 2021 12:57:32 AM
Our Health Care System is sick...I believe we look at things the wrong way. Why not focus on keeping people healthy, from birth to ripe old age. The focus should be on all aspects of health. Start with nutrition. Educate the young and the old. Keep Junk food out of school, teach real cooking.
Subsidise; juicers, meals on wheels, health resorts (see how they do that in Germany)
provide proper, affordable dental care ( this will prevent major health issues), Invest in researching natural medicines (a lot cheaper than drugs/chemo etc) Encourage people to manage their illnesses instead of penalising them for not going often enough to the Doctor ( see disability claims) help the families that look after their ill relatives. There are lots more money saving ideas out there, however unless we change our perspectives, we will bankrupt the system.
Posted by: Kent | Aug 27, 2021 1:23:35 AM
I would like to see us use a European Health Care system...one where government/taxpayers funds it so that everyone is ensured and has access to healthcare BUT one that allows private companies to actually deliver the healthcare. That way companies can bid on the service and compete for the right to take care of us. The current Canadian system is run by bureaucrats and unions and that is why Canadian healthcare is so much worse than European health care.
A good model is with BC's government auto insurance...ICBC. (OK, it's not perfect but it's better than our health care system!!) They make auto insurance available for all British Columbians. However, when it's time to get your car fixed ICBC pays a private garage to fix your car. That's because they realize it would be a nightmare if we had to use government garages full of unionized workers and government bureaucrats. And you can usually get your car fixed in a few weeks...about the wait for a European surgery. That's what we should do in health care...let private hospitals compete for our business. It's what they do in most of Europe and it works.
Health care is too important to rely just on government.
Posted by: Kent | Aug 27, 2021 1:38:23 AM
Some provinces will have a tougher time than others because they attract more retirees. For example, my Dad and his new wife retired and moved from Toronto to Vancouver for obvious reasons. They spent their best 40 years in ONtario paying lots of taxes and not using much health care. But now that they are old they don't pay much taxes and are more likely to get sick and use BC tax dollars to pay for their health care. And this happens thousands of times every year. It's a great deal for Ontario but a crappy deal for BC. I don't expect a "have-not" province like Ontario to send money to a "Have" province like BC but at some point all the retiring Ontarians (and Albertans, Quebeckers etc) will create a big hardship for BC. BC is in effect further subsidizing Ontario.
Posted by: Jyl | Aug 27, 2021 3:08:42 AM
I think that people must be expected to pay an additional premium, per capita, to help support/sustain the system. The way that the aging population is criticised for having the gall to continue to breathe, is nauseating. What should one do, be expected to suicide when reaching age 65?!
Posted by: Annie | Aug 27, 2021 6:32:47 AM
I agree with alot of what Chris has said, and feel that our medicare needs some help in developing into a fair system for all. The baby boomers may be a large number, but I do not feel that they are the unhealthiest generation out there. I look at the young children my grand-sons age and I am mortified by the obeisity I see there. He is in the minority being average sized for his age. What the blazes are these kids eating? I have heard it said that if there is not a new Health policy put in place sooner than later, alot of parents will be burying their children. Parents and schools have got to wake up. Stop feeding these children all the garbage food out there. What my girls were young what they had as an occaisional treat has now become a staple in children's diets. People harp on the baby boomers only because they are a large group, but in my experience I'm noticing the 50 somethings out there are the fittest 50 somethings we have ever seen. Remember back what the past generations of 50 somethings were like. None of them exercised or took care of themselves really, the only saving grace they had was that their food wasn't as polluted as ours. I remember when my children were young they tried a user fee at the hospital, I believe it was $6.00 a visit to be paid on arrival or they would bill you. That might have worked if they collected upon registration, but most people opted to be billed and never paid. I don't think a user fee would be too much to pay today, if they do it right. Have people pay as soon as they register, refuse them admittance until they pay( there are bank machines in all the hospitals I have ever been to) If every one paid a fee that might help. But I do believe that more should be spent on educating people to be healthier. The end result will be worth it.
Posted by: George Brown | Aug 27, 2021 7:29:26 AM
Kent your an idiot... Ontario is full of old people and thanks to the Libral goverment of the passed 10 or so years a province of no jobs or investment. Might as well just euthanize at 65 and make the roads safer here
Posted by: Margaret | Aug 27, 2021 9:18:45 AM
At 65 and after 40+ yrs in work force , we are not overweight and VERY active.Now retired and busier than ever.Certainly not ready for the knackers yard, rocking chair or walking frame.....We are up between 5.30 to 6 am EVERY DAY, retire to bed about 11.pm.Sure we have our minor health issues,and try to keep them minor.COOK meals, very little eating out, grow vedgies.ALSO pay addition al $350 a month in extended health care to cover items NOT covered by OHIP.SO you younger folks, do not label all seniors the same, we are NOT a burden on you guys at all, never have been and hope to not become so either.We watch all our younger neighbours doing NOTHING, sleeping in on weekens til noon,sitting on step texting day in day out and look like they never do anything physical.They WILL become a burden in due course!We have already invested in our society, many years worth of INPUT! Now we are doing things for ourselves.|EVERYONE deserves that and can achieve it with decades of damned HARD WORK and CAREFUL management.
Posted by: Al-Man | Aug 27, 2021 10:21:38 AM
Anyone ever thought of trying to keep out the foreigners who come to Canada just to have a baby, or use the health care system to their advantage and then go home, or maybe try to cut back on the number of hypochondriacs who go to emergency for a sniffle, and other drains on the system that could be avoided? I bet thats where about a third of the budget could be saved to really help the legitimate patients of this country.
Posted by: Stephen Forde | Aug 27, 2021 10:52:50 AM
I don't think it's reasonable to expect the young to shoulder such a large burden for the old. What will likely happen is that more young ppl will realize that there is little benefit to working hard and saving and trying to get ahead, and many will become slackers, and work low level jobs instread of pursuing careers, a trend we already see. Many will leave for better opportunities elsewhere, particularly asia. And many will simply not start families and there will be a larger demographic problem in the future.
I think it's more reasonable to expect the elderly, who have had a lifetime to accumulate wealth, to shoulder their own burden and pay for their own health care.
I also think that health care in canada is extremely overpriced, and we could reduce it's cost by 60-90 % by abolishing the Canadian Medical Association, which acts as a union for doctors, restricting the supply of doctors available by controlling accreditation for medical school, and driving up the cost of employing doctors.
Posted by: Stephen Forde | Aug 27, 2021 11:25:33 AM
Theses problems that you are pointing out a part of a broad pattern of moral hazard. Whenever you subsidize something, you get more of it. If you subsidize medical care, you get more demand for medical services. It is a systemic problem that cannot be resolved entirely without complete privatisation of health care.
Posted by: Al-Man | Aug 27, 2021 11:40:49 AM
@ Stephen Forde
But remember, once you fully privatize health care, you end up like the US system with all the insurance companies, for profit hospitals and all the problems they have with people losing their life savings due to illness.
How about a system like they had in I think New Zealand, where people would put $5 in the pot when they came to the hospital whether it be a hangnail or a heart attack. They not only helped the health care system, they almost pulled the country out of debt with the hypochondriacs alone. Privatization is not the answer because then the problem of greed comes into play,which is just as bad.
Posted by: BMIA | Aug 27, 2021 1:55:30 PM
People need to realize that the Health Care System is not free - never has been. Nothing the government does is free. It is a distribution mechanism set up via taxes. Everything costs money. People who work in health care aren't doing it for free - they want to be paid. You can't buy pharmaceuticals for nothing - those companies want o be paid (and paid quite high - which is easy to do when governments foot the bill - no incentive to actually reduce prices). You can't have medical equipment for free (someone gets paid for selling it) or medical procedures for free (various costs right down to leases and rental units). Bureaucrats want ot be paid. These are all factors that have costs and when added together consistently come up with a number of "higher than the amount of money already being thrown at it."
The evidence of just throwing more money at it solves the problem does not exist. More money is always being thrown at it and the problems don't go away. In fact, we are often told the problems are getting worse and to "throw even more money at it!"
The reason everything is expensive and inefficient is because of the government. The government has to stop this national health care insurance plan. Stop subsidizing this system. Look at the medical treatments that are not covered by the national health care insurance plan? Those get cheaper and more efficient every year (lasik eye surgery, for example). Besides, when did health insurance become defacto for pre-paid medical? If the government were to stop this subsidy and those dollars were returned to people as wages then allow individual people to buy the healthcare coverage they want. There will be price transparency and people will shop around. But right now we have no handle on how much things cost because "someone else is always going to pay for it." Just throw more money at it.
There is a better system and that system is less government involvement - not more.
Posted by: Stephen Forde | Aug 27, 2021 3:09:08 PM
I don't think you would end up with a system like the US system because the US system is not entirely private. First of all, you have medicare and medicaid which are welfare programs for the poor and elderly, causing moral hazard and driving up costs. You also have the AMA and FDA which restricts the kind and quantity of drugs and medical services available, driving up costs. And there are also the insurance mandates which force insurance companies which disallow them from discriminating against bad risks, driving up costs.
The US medical system is a mixed system as well, partially socialist and partially private. Canada's System is also mixed, though it differs structurally. The solution for lowering costs in both systems is complete and total privatization.
I don't see what greed has to do with it. Greed is an omnipresent character trait which exists to a lesser or greater degree in all humans. But it is not part of a causal explanation for higher or lower costs, or any observable economic or social phenomena. I don't see the relevance.
Posted by: Stephen Forde | Aug 27, 2021 4:16:45 PM
I agree with BMIA.
Government is the problem. If our food system was run the same way as our health care system, we would only have fine foods in grocery stores. It would be extremely expensive, payed for by our taxes, some paying more than their share, others paying less. There would be shortages of food with long line ups. Who needs it more or less urgently would be decided on the basis of triage and political expediancy. There would be misplacement of investment in innovation. There would be bureaucrats who are paid huge salaries to end the disparity in diet between the rich and the poor. Producing and selling food would be outlawed on the grounds that it creates unfair inequalities. Everyone who argues for market reform would be strawmaned as wanting the N. Korean system. ect.
Posted by: Bryan Jaskolka | Aug 28, 2021 10:46:06 AM
Anyone who thinks "it's unfair" for the younger generation to support the older in their later years when they need services more and more need to consider a few things. Firstly, that we've been doing it for DECADES and that's just the way it goes. Second, these are the same people who took care of us in our younger years so I don't think it's too much to ask that they still be given access to the public health system. Third, they too will be old one day and will need these exact same services and funding they'd like to take away from the aging population now. Yes there are problems with the system. That's the system's fault, not that of the older generation looking to use it as they should be able to.
Posted by: Darwin Recruiting Agent | Aug 29, 2021 12:46:26 AM
Well put Bryan. With the omnipresent population growth and the neverending immigrant influx... although I may not be around... I look forward to looking down from above and watching the "entitled" generation when they become old and are in need of health care or long-term care.
I can't wait to see the "next" generation belittle the present generation for being old, sick and numerous. What comes around... goes around. The beeatching and screetching has just begun.
Posted by: Kent | Aug 30, 2021 2:35:13 PM
I don't think young people resent taking care of older people...what we resent is the overall debt your generation has saddled us with. Canada's federal debt is about $600 billion (yes Billion). If you add on provincial and municipal debt it is well over a Trillion dollars. I don't know when you were born but if you're retired now you were probably born at a time when there was little public debt. That means the "older generations" like yours actually spent a $Trillion and left us with the bill. My generation will have to pay for that with our taxes. No wonder we're pissed off. Thanks for nothing.
Posted by: Frank | Sep 2, 2021 10:51:30 AM
The Canadian government should focus on heath wellness rather than heath care. The system will undobtedly have to face a user pay system. If you take care of yourself and stay fit the system will work the way it should. If you have abused yourself all your life you should be wiling to pay for your healthcare services. As far as the older generation being at fault............user fees have been discussed for 40 years. It will only happen when the money runs out.
Human nature and politics..............nasty business democracy!!!!!! Vote are for sale and the NDP knows it.